Something Smells Fishy


Abe Sapien #1

This is a tale of Abe Sapien, Hellboy’s amphibious buddy, and his first solo assignment with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. He gets sent to the site of a small shipwreck off the coast of France where a Victorian-era occult detective once put down an evil wizard — Abe and his small team of assistants are supposed to collect any interesting evidence they can find in the wreck, in particular, looking for one of the mystically powerful Lipu daggers. Of course, things don’t go according to plan…

Verdict: I can’t really say yet. The plot is pretty lightweight at this point, but Mignola’s scripts often start slow before ramping up to the good stuff. There are some excellent character bits, though, for Abe in particular, but also for a couple of his agents, grousing humorously about their worst, most boring assignments ever.


Project Superpowers #0

Yay! A comic book for a dollar! Too bad the story ain’t worth a plug nickel…

So Dynamite Entertainment has grabbed up a bunch of Golden Age characters, most of them in the public domain, and they’re gonna try to make their own superhero universe with ’em. But instead of the Golden Age, they’re going to fit most of it into the present day. We start out focusing on a former superhero called the Fighting Yank (Stop that laughing!), who is now an old man. He is confronted by the American Spirit (which seems to be a very angry American flag) and accused of betraying his fellow superheroes. Back during WWII, the Yank (Stop that laughing!) gained possession of the mythological Pandora’s Box. The Yank (Stop that laughing!) got his powers from the ghost of his Revolutionary War ancestor, who thinks that the box released evil into the world but also good, in the form of superheroes — in order to do away with evil, all the superheroes must first be imprisoned in the box, then evil will just be absorbed naturally. This makes not a lick of sense, but they go with it anyway.

Verdict: Thumbs down. First, the plot makes no sense. Second, I don’t care what anyone says, most superhero costumes in the Golden Age were brain-breakingly bad — the Fighting Yank’s is a white Wal-Mart sweatshirt with an American flag on it, along with a cape, a tricorner hat, and a domino mask. And his name’s the Fighting Yank, fer cryeye! The Nazis should’ve been able to drive him to suicide with constant taunting — “Vas is das? Is Amerikanner uber-dumpkopf? Yank, Yank, Yank! Ho ho ho, schnitzel!”

I’m also irritated by the fact that the creators throw all these obscure characters at us and then refuse to identify most of them — the story and characters might be more interesting if we had some hint about who they were. As it is, it’s looking like the one and only way Dynamite plans to sell this series is through the covers by comic-book painter Alex Ross.

Oh, and let’s not forget, most of these characters have already been relaunched much more successfully in Alan Moore’s “Terra Obscura” books. Go hunt those down if you wanna see a Golden Age revival done right.

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