The Golden Ticket


All Winners Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1

If you’d told me a few months ago that I’d be grooving this hard on a bunch of comics commemorating Marvel’s Golden Age, I’da laughed in your face. The Golden Age of comics — mostly centering around World War II — is something that requires a lot of nostalgia to get into, ’cause if you read the original comics from that era, they’re often not that good. But without the Golden Age, you wouldn’t have had any comics at all, and for that alone, it deserves respect. But I’ve always been more interested in DC’s Golden Age, mostly because DC does such a good job of promoting their Golden Age characters through the “Justice Society” series. Marvel? What’s there to know but Captain America, Bucky, the Human Torch, and Namor, right?

Well, wrong. This series of specials has been absolutely amazing — some of the best writing and artwork to come out of Marvel in ages, along with some of the best stories from the real Golden Age, too. If you haven’t picked them up yet, go get to it.

As for this story, we start out shortly after the end of World War II, with the All Winners Squad taking on Future Man and Madame Death. Captain America makes a careless error that leaves Future Man’s time ship falling through time, though the heroes escape safely. Waitaminute, wasn’t Cap frozen in ice at the end of the war? Yes, this is a guy named Jeff Mace who is a replacement Captain America — and he doesn’t feel he’s earned the right to take Cap’s place yet. There’s also some additional soap-opera drama — Miss America is pretending she and Cap are dating to get the media talking, which is making her real boyfriend, the Whizzer (snicker!) jealous. But a night out on the town soon devolves into an attack by undead soldiers — and when a zombie Captain America appears and says that he’ll return to life if the replacement Cap dies, what’s going to happen then?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderful plotting, dialogue, characterization, and artwork. The soap opera elements inject several months’ worth of drama into only a few pages, and the surprise villain was perfect for the story.


Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #6

Dr. Sivana has escaped from prison, but Captain Marvel doesn’t have time to track him down — there’s a Bigfoot terrorizing the area. Wait, that’s no Bigfoot, that’s King Kull, timelost barbarian warrior with a magic gun that turns wood into metal. But Kull may be as strong as Cap, and he’s definitely a more experienced fighter, plus his gun leads to some very rough moments for the Big Red Cheese. Is there a way for Cap to prevail?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This story is again written by Art Baltazar and Franco, who are best known for their work on “Tiny Titans” and “Patrick the Wolf Boy,” while artwork is provided by Stephen DeStafano. At first, I thought DeStefano’s art was extremely weird for this book, but the more the story continued, the more I liked it — it’s like a combination of ’60s underground art and retro Golden Age cartooning. It ends up being very appealing and perfect for a character like Captain Marvel.

Comments are closed.