By Koppy McFad
April 10, 2009 - 23:19
This is a spin-off from Dynamite Entertainment's "SUPERPOWERS" line which covers virtually every 1940s superhero who has come into the public domain. This comic-book universe brings together characters from Nedor, Fox, Centaur, Prize, Spark and many other defunct comic-book lines-- potentially giving the company hundreds of heroes, villains and supporting characters to play with.
However this also results in a hugely complex shared universe with a continuity as complicated as Marvel or DC Comics. And Dynamite does not make it any easier for us by explaining things clearly. In the SUPERPOWERS world, virtually all the golden-agers have been mystically imprisoned for decades and now emerge into a corrupt world secretly controlled by supervillains and heroes-gone-wrong. The Black Terror, searching for his lost sidekick, goes after the president while other heroers, like American Eage and Super-American block his way.
In this third issue, the writers introduce about two dozen revived Golden-Age heroes, but give us just enough information to wonder what the heck is happening. Maybe if we knew the past history of Power Nelson or the Boy King, we could get interested and excited. But most people don't read comics with Google already on their computer. So many crucial plot points are lost.
The story does have old-school narrative captions that help explain some details but in many cases, the narration is clumsy and superficial. One caption says the American Eagle has "bird-like abilities"-- does that mean he pecks at his food and craps on statues? Why didn't they just say he has the powers of a bird of prey? That sounds more impressive.
Furthermore, the creators weigh down the story with political pontificating rather than showing us the horrors of an America that has gone down the wrong road.
The art is also far too dark, using excessive shading, to the point that it is hard to tell what is happening. Even the spaces between the panels gets blurred so you can't tell whether a character belongs in one panel or another. This is a major drawback in a book with over two dozen characters.
The art does leave the characters looking very powerful, even if all of them-- including the Black Terror, end up looking like villains rather than heroes.
There is an interesting story, both in this comic and in the whole SUPERPOWERS line but it is not being done with the proper skill and dozens of new characters are being crammed into each story. People may not like hearing this but this book makes one appreciate Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek and the way they can write team books with numerous characters-- and still have a cohesive story.
Rating: 4 /10