Two first issues caught my eye this week, the first eagerly awaited and the second a total surprise.
Some months ago I promised the esteemed J. T. Krul a review for Captain Atom #1, and the day has now arrived. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. I like it, but there are a number of factors that make me question the whole ‘soft-reboot’ business, to which I need to go into further detail.
Firstly, I love the Captain’s new look. If anything based on a masterful use of colouring, his illuminated form simply exudes power. Thing is, I loved his old look as well, the chrome skin (the fabled alien metal that granted his previous two incarnations their power) is gone. Or at least obscured by the internal furnace of his power.
I fear that he seems even more generic in appearance than previously. Reminding me of the Acclaim incarnation of Solar, Man Of The Atom, or numerous Marvel characters as they achieve cosmic power. Remember the Ethicals from Machine Man? Or maybe he is Nova Frankie Raye with a small mohecan hairstyle.
As his appearance tends more to the ephemeral angelic being, so to has his personality shifted. No longer the brash, confident military man, he seems somewhat humbled. Of course, if his recent experiences in Action Comics and previously as Monarch are still valid, this is only to be expected.
To the latter half of the issue, this can be explained by some news he receives, yet this insecurity is apparent from the first page.
Dr Megala has returned, not as a little red-haired cyborg trolley this time, but more as a balding Stephen Hawkings. Again, I love the new look, it adds a degree of realism. (Yeah, realism. That why we read comics. For the realism.) I will miss Megala the shopping cart, but I applaud his return.
But what does this do to the story of Invasion!? Both the Captain and the original, (well, second) incarnation of Megala were essential in that story. We have seen that the Crisis On Infinite Earths still happened, but has the Invasion? Maybe the new Hawkman will let that cat out of the bag.
No sign yet of General Eiling. Does this mean he was the monstrous General seen in the pages of JLA? Or did that never happen now? Where does that leave the good Captain’s stint with the JLE?
I almost wish we had seen a full reboot. Or at least have a character or two who recalls the previous timeline, so we can identify the differences. For example, since when can the Captain perform molecular re-arrangement? Since this issue it seems.
Who does he think he is? Firestorm? My thoughts wander back to Solar again.
There, that’s the gripes out of the way. If the Captain was a totally new character however, I would love this. If you are new to Nathaniel’s adventures, this is an ideal title. Having some prior knowledge only helped me to jump to conclusions or at shadows.
My other treat has to be Vescell #1 from Image. By Enrique Carrion and John Upchurch. There’s no being burdened by years of history with this title, nor any lengthy exposition; nothing more than one paragraph on the inside cover.
Setting the scene: there’s another dimension that scientists broke into that contains scary demonic things, and a company that markets personality transfers between bodies. Got that?
Then in true cinematic style, we dive straight into the tale of one guy, a bodyguard who has a gun in which lives a fairy and a girlfriend who can only enter this world by possessing others. His tale is told against a backdrop of corporate intrigue and political corruption and has to be the best thirty-four pages I have read in a long time. This is a title of which I want to see a lot more of, as the tale leaves a lot of plot threads lying around as mere decoration, in a fashion that does not overload the reader. At the end of the first issue, I was satisfied. Hungry for more, but satisfied at the same time. A rare occurance these days, I normally find either one or the another, but both is a treasure.
Think Pulp Fiction with fairies and demons. Or maybe what would happen if Disney fell under the control of Tarantino, with a smidgeon of Clive Barker thrown in for good measure.
Please sir? Can I have some more?