A longtime showbiz journalist and fan's thoughts on comic books, movies and other cool stuff.

Month: February 2024

Short Takes: Prophet #2

This is really conventional stuff for a second issue, and surprisingly coherent for an early Image title. Dan Panosian takes over all the art on this issue, and it’s quite solid, evoking the style of DC stalwart Dan Jurgens to good effect. The Rob Liefeld-penciled cover makes your head hurt if you think about what motion might be required for two men to get in that position. Not much actually happens inside the comic. Kirby and Prophet fight their way into the Alaska complex and Prophet connects with D.O.C.C. What’s really strange is that it’s this satellite that’s giving him energy and “life force” while the comic’s narration quotes Bible passages. Is D.O.C.C. God? Or does Prophet interpret D.O.C.C. as God? Oh, and Bloodstrike shows up at the end, only to be completely indistinguishable from Youngblood or Brigade or StormWatch, etc. The story runs 19 pages, with the rest of the issue filled out with pinups, Extreme Studios employee profiles, an autograph appearance announcement, and a talent search ad. There’s also a coupon for Prophet #0 stapled into a centerfold that’s a two-page spread, so you can’t read it or see the entire image without — gasp! — removing the coupon and damaging your comic’s collectible value. (It goes for $3 in near-mint condition at MyComicShop.com as I write this.)

Short Takes: Namor #1

Namor #1 (April 1990)
Art by John Byrne.

John Byrne had been back at Marvel for a while before he took on the challenge of doing a new Sub-Mariner series. And it works. Namor was believed dead at the end of the Atlantis Attacks storyline that ran though Marvel’s 1989 annuals, and here just shows up bursting out of the ocean to attack the natives on a nearby island. Researchers Carrie Alexander and her pop, David, see this, recognize him, and help him out. Turns out David has a theory to modulate Namor’s extreme moods — and it works. So Namor enlists them as he digs up sunken treasure to fund a corporate front to fight ocean pollution and other causes. The art is pleasingly detailed, open, and inviting. The story has enough action and plot to keep things interesting enough to make me want to come back for the next issue.

Short Takes: Star Brand #1

Star Brand #1 (Oct. 1986)

Marvel’s New Universe kicks off with this extremely subdued comic about a regular guy in Pittsburgh who rides motorcycles, works in an auto body shop, and is suddenly given the “greatest weapon in the universe.” John Romita Jr. came to this title off of X-Men and gives a kind of quiet dignity to a story that would have worked better in 1986 as a TV series. Al Williamson’s inks are lovely — no surprise there. Ken Connell is a very un-Marvel like character, which is a good thing. He’s also dull and a bit of a creep — he dates a successful woman named Barbie while also dating another woman who appears to have some kind of learning disorder — which is less good. Writer Jim Shooter leaves the big picture for all this overly vague, giving readers few reasons to come back for #2 unless they really want to know if Ken will commit to Barbie.

Short Takes: Prophet #1

Cover to Prophet #1 (Oct. 1993).
Art by Rob Liefeld and Dan Panosian.

If your prediction for a 1993 Extreme Studios comic was Bible verses quoted over page after page of a grunting hero chopping up robots, you likely won the prize of an extra $2.50 in your pocket. Prophet breaks into his own series with creator, layout artist, and scripter Rob Liefeld mashing up the origins of Captain America, OMAC, and The Six Million Dollar Man into a comic that actually might qualify as a story in the most technical sense. The opening action sequence — a dream, of course — with the aforementioned robots is reasonably entertaining, until it ends in a reveal that makes zero sense. Some idea of who these people are and what they’re doing is helpful. Having Jack Kirby show up as a character improves nothing, neither does repeating the reveal in a random way just few pages later. Sharp readers may learn the following unknown and nonexistent facts: High-ranking FBI agents in 1993 wore lingerie and super-short miniskirts to the office, and Jack Kirby was so manly he didn’t even get cold going shirtless during winter in Anchorage, Alaska.

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