Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Longbox Junk - Conan The Barbarian #158

Welcome to Longbox Junk, where I write comic book reviews that nobody asked me to!

When it comes to comic books, I'll admit that I'm much more of a fan of non-superhero characters.  Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to be said for a great Batman or Captain America story, but give me a Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Spirit or Zorro story and I'm a very happy man!

Conan The Barbarian is right up there in the top ten list of my favorite non-superhero characters.  I think one of the things I like best about Conan is that he's a deceptively simple character that can be used in almost ANY kind of story!  

Conan fits right into horror stories, comedy stories, epic adventures, small character pieces, mysteries, heck. . .at the time of this writing, Marvel even has Conan teaming up with superheroes in the mainstream Marvel Universe (in the ongoing "Savage Avengers" series) and they're STILL great Conan stories!

Marvel's impressive original 275 issue (plus 12 annuals) run on Conan The Barbarian is a pretty good testament to just how versatile the character is.  Even better for a Longbox Junker such as myself, a hefty run like that means (with the exception of the earlier, more "valuable" issues) you can find a LOT of great Conan comics in the bargain bins.  Maybe not as ubiquitous as other dollar box fillers, but there's plenty of them out there to be found.

Which brings us to the issue at hand!

Coming in at roughly the halfway point of Marvel's run on the series, we have a tale that leans toward the horror genre, wherein we find Conan the Barbarian during his days as a wandering mercenary encountering a savage beast with a tragic secret.  Let's take a look, shall we?

Marvel (1984)


SCRIPT: Michael Fleisher & John Buscema
PENCILS: John Buscema
INKS: Rudy Nebres
COVER: John Buscema


The late, great John Buscema was a Bronze Age heavyweight and he doesn't disappoint with this cover! The colors are rich and inviting, the composition is perfect.  I really like the contrast between the background and the shadows, which give us a hint of the story inside.  

This cover tells a story in ONE single image and it immediately grabbed my attention when I spotted it in the bargain bin.  It's just an amazing cover all around and I'm glad I have this in my collection!  Let's get inside and see what's going on. . .


We begin in the desert, witnessing a strange scene. Two horsemen pulling a box with a captive woman inside across the sand as she cries out for help. . .

Luckily for her, Conan the Barbarian just happens to be passing by within earshot of her cries and decides to investigate.  As the woman begs for her life, Conan demands she be freed.  A fight breaks out and Conan easily dispatches her captors before letting the woman out of the box.

Not long after rescuing the woman, her father arrives on the scene.  He initially thinks Conan was one of her captors, but she tells him of Conan's brave rescue of her.  

Her father informs Conan that a certain Sheik Abdul Zu Fadh has been obsessed with gaining the hand of his daughter for over a year and has become enraged at her rejection of him.  This is not the first time he's had her kidnapped.  

They all return to her father's camp and prepare for a celebration in Conan's honor.

Later, at the celebration, we learn the girl's name is Kahlima and her grateful father is Ali Maksoud.  After dancing for her barbarian savior, Kahlima departs for the evening. . .

Not long thereafter, eerie howls rend the night air.  Conan is unconcerned, but Ali Maksoud seems to be mysteriously more worried than he should be.  After he departs to check on the noise, the back of the tent is ripped open and a huge wolf-like creature attacks!

As Conan fights for his life against the supernaturally strong creature, Ali Maksoud and his men rush to his aid, barely managing to pull the monster off of him.  The creature flees into the night.  Conan is ready to give chase, but Maksoud convinces Conan to leave it be, as he fears an ambush that might cost him more men.  Conan reluctantly agrees.

Come the dawn, Conan is roused by shouts of alarm.  Kahlima is missing again!  All signs point to another abduction by Sheik Abdul Zu Fahd.  Conan joins Ali Maksoud and his men as they set off to follow the trail of the kidnappers. . .

After a long chase through the day and into the evening hours, Conan and company finally discover the camp of the kidnappers, as well as Kahlima bound to the rocks.  Conan is wary of an ambush and his misgivings come true as a large band of armed men appear, led by none other than Sheik Abdul Zu Fahd!

Conan mocks the Sheik for having to kidnap women he wants to marry.  But Zu Fahd protests that he doesn't want to marry Kahlima, but that she's responsible for the death of his only son. . .

A bloody battle between the two armed bands breaks out, but as they clash and the moon rises, Conan finally learns the truth of things as Kahlima begins to transform into the same horrific beast that attacked him the night before!

The enraged beast breaks free of its bonds and begins to attack both Zu Fahn and Ali Maksoud's men indiscriminately, sending the men into a fearful panic as Conan desperately tries to fight the creature.

Sheik Zu Fahd cries out to his men to bring him an arrow tipped with a deadly black lotus poison, but Ali Maksoud prevents him from shooting it at his transformed daughter.  Instead, he uses the arrow on her himself. . .

As the deadly poison takes effect and the creature changes back into human form, Ali Maksoud cradles his beloved daughter in his arms one last time as he tearfully explains that she was born from a night spent with a demon in disguise, and that he tried to conceal Kahlima's true nature because of his love of her.  

Conan walks away from the tragic scene without a word and rides into the desert night, reflecting that this is an event that will live on in the tales of these desert people, but as for him. . .it's just another thing to put behind him on his journey through life.

The End.


All right, there it is. . .Conan the Barbarian and The Night of The Wolf.  Let's break it on down!

Prolific comic legend Roy Thomas wrote the lion's share of Marvel's Conan run, so it was interesting to see an issue written by someone else.  Thankfully, Michael Fleisher does a great job filling Thomas' shoes on this story!  

It's simple, it's action-packed, and it's a good, solid adventure story that leans a little into horror.  Fleisher doesn't get fancy here, and because of that, this story has the timeless feel that is a hallmark of any good Conan story.  It doesn't matter that this was written 37 years ago, it reads like it was written yesterday. . .or in the 1930's, for that matter.  A good Conan story should have that timeless feel to it, and Fleisher captures it very nicely.

To be fair, there ARE a few places where the overblown dialogue has a faint whiff of Bronze Age Marvel bombast, but it's not really distracting from the simple story at hand.  All in all a very solid "one and done" story.

Now let's talk about the art. . .

The story is solid and well done, but it's the art that's the REAL star of the show here!  Like I observed in my look at the cover of this comic, the late John Buscema was a Bronze Age heavyweight and fully deserves a place of honor in the hall of comic book legends.  It's his work that REALLY makes this story shine!

The first handful of Conan issues are a bit pricey and considered more "valuable" to collectors because of the Barry Windsor-Smith art. . .and rightly so.  But in MY extremely humble opinion, Buscema's long run as artist on the title was superior.  

When I think of Conan, it's Buscema's work that immediately comes to MY mind.  His detailed, kinetic artwork breathed life and energy into Conan's world in a way that's rarely been matched to this day.

Just LOOK at the pages I scanned above!  Every panel of this comic is a feast for the eyes!  This single issue alone is a master class in visual storytelling that a lot of modern artists could definitely take a lesson from.


A simple, action-packed story with that timeless feel needed for a good Conan tale, backed up by page after page of fantastic artwork from a comic book legend. . .what more could you want?

If you're a fan of Conan the Barbarian, you'll love this story!  If you're not a fan, this probably won't change your mind because it hits just about everything that a good Conan story should have in it.  

I hate to make myself sound old, but they just don't make comics like this anymore.  From page one to page done, this is a great example of why Bronze Age comics still hold such a big place in the heart of many comic book fans. . .and I'm one of them.

Up Next. . .

I haven't decided yet, but I WOULD like to take this opportunity on the eve of Thanksgiving to thank each and every person reading this for spending a little bit of your precious time here with me.  I am indeed sincerely thankful that there are fellow comic fans out there who like to read these reviews that nobody asked me to write.  I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Longbox Junk - Justice #1

Welcome to Longbox Junk, the blog absolutely PACKED full of comic book reviews nobody asked me to write!

Lately, I've been getting back to the roots of Longbox Junk by focusing on some, well. . .Longbox Junk! These are the comic books that you are practically guaranteed to find while digging through just about any decent bargain bin in just about any comic shop you might find yourself in.  These forgotten relics of the 1980's and 90's are the space-filling meat and potatoes of dollar boxes across America. 

This time out, I'm taking a look at the first issue of a comic series that was part of an interesting and somewhat infamous experiment by Marvel Comics in the late 80's.  Let's talk about that for a moment before we get into the main event, shall we?  Yes, we shall!

Boiled down to the sauce, the story behind the New Universe was that Marvel Editorial was trying to come up with something big to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Marvel as we know it.  Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter came up with an outrageous idea. . .a complete shutdown of the Marvel Universe and a fresh start at issue #1 of ALL their titles (an idea later used by DC for their New 52 reboot, but THAT'S another story).

Shooter's idea was rejected because Marvel was doing pretty good at the time and why fix what ain't broken (YET. . .the 90's were just around the corner).  So he did the next best thing and suggested a whole NEW Marvel Universe. . .8 titles with new heroes and villains coming out at the same time with issue #1 that readers could jump in on at the beginning and not worry about years of past continuity.  Even better, THESE stories would be set in a more realistic world, where superheroes were extremely rare. . .a world like the one outside your window.

And so the New Universe was born!

The new line was heavily promoted, but there were problems almost from the start.  The budget was originally quite generous, but it wasn't long before Marvel's parent company (Cadence Industries at the time) decided it would rather spend money elsewhere and the budget was severely slashed to the point that almost none of the New Universe titles could maintain a consistent creative team or shipping schedule.

Within the first year of the New Universe, four of the original titles were cancelled.  The rest of the titles were so inconsistent in tone and look due to the constantly-shifting creative teams that the entire project was scrapped in 1989 with a total of 170 published issues across the line.  Jim Shooter was replaced as Editor-in-Chief by Tom De Falco halfway through the run of New Universe, and it is pretty much a given that Shooter's resignation was heavily-influenced by problems with New Universe.

Although the New Universe had its fans, and the four remaining titles after the purge of half of the line during the first year sold fairly well, it never really found a solid footing.  Today the New Universe is generally regarded as a weird relic of the short space between the end of the Bronze Age of comics and the beginning of the Modern Age of comics.  A space where more realistic stories were starting to be told for older readers, but the general comic industry (and readership) wasn't fully on board with them just yet.

And so we come to the comic at hand!

Justice is generally regarded as one of the worst New Universe titles.  Mainly because it violated the rules of a more realistic world without superpowers right out of the gate with this first issue.  Despite this, it survived the first year purge of half of the New Universe titles and went on to the finish with 32 issues. . .one of the longer-running series.  The main character also popped up here and there in Marvel comics (most notably in 1993's Spider-Man 2099) even after the end of New Universe, unlike the rest of the characters who were quietly forgotten for the most part.

 Personally, when the New Universe was on the stands, Justice was really the only title in the line I liked, which is why I decided to re-visit it for this review.  Does it still hold up after 35 years?

Let's find out!
Marvel - New Universe (1986)


SCRIPT: Archie Goodwin
PENCILS: Geof Isherwood
INKS: Joe Delbeato, Jack Fury, Joe Rubenstein
COVER: Geof Isherwood


Not bad!  I like it!  The bold colors really make this one pop.  The blues and purples of the background really set off the main character and the title, which has a really interesting style. . .even though it makes it look like the comic is called JVSTICE.  The signature black New Universe border that makes these comics so easy to spot in the bargain bin frames everything very nicely.  Let's get inside!


We begin our tale in Alphabet City, a crime-plagued area of Manhattan.  Three young hoods have just mercilessly robbed and killed an innocent woman.  We follow them as they make their escape back to their hideout. . .

As they go through their ill-gotten loot, a mysterious and oddly-dressed man suddenly arrives.  Despite the taunts of the criminals, he doesn't speak a word, and seems to be studying them with eyes that glow with a strange red light.  

When threatened by one of the hoods with a knife, the stranger blasts the three of them with a bolt of power from his hand, finally speaking, declaring "I am Justice".

As the strange man leaves and begins moving through the decaying landscape of urban New York, the scene shifts to Los Angeles, California.  

A powerful man named Damon Conquest receives an urgent telephone call informing him that someone (the reader assumes it is the strange man in New York) has survived an ambush meant to kill him, and not only did he live, but somehow he has "crossed over". 

 Damon is told that outside help is being brought in to find the man and finish the botched assassination attempt.

Returning to New York, we follow the mysterious stranger as he wanders through an East Village park.  He is confused by a world that seems to be a harsher shadow of his own, and he struggles to remember his name and purpose.  He knows he is a warrior, and that he serves the cause of Justice, but doesn't understand anything else that has happened to him.  

As the mysterious warrior interferes in a fight between a drug dealer and a prostitute, he learns about a place called "The Factory", which runs organized crime in the area.  The stranger becomes convinced that if there is a place of power nearby, then that's where he should begin trying to find answers. 

We once again shift scenes to St. Marks Place in the East Village, outside of a popular nightclub called "The Factory".  We join Rebecca Chambers and Hoyt Pittman. . .two undercover Department of Justice agents as they infiltrate the club disguised as a socialite and her chauffer.

The mysterious warrior arrives at the club at about the same time, and is somehow drawn to Chambers.  He manages to talk his way in, not realizing that Chambers' partner is following him after noticing his strange interest in her.

Upstairs, we find Chango Villalobos, the boss of the local crime family, interrogating one of his men.  We discover that they know about the Department of Justice's investigation and know the identity of Rebecca Chambers thanks to them turning another agent to their side.  They plan to set her up.

Meanwhile, down on the floor of the club, the mysterious stranger has found Chambers, dancing with a man who we learn is another agent that has already infiltrated the crime family. . .the same agent that Villalobos believes they have turned to their side.  The sight and the music triggers a flashback, where we see the warrior dancing with a woman in another time and place.  

We learn that his name is Tensen, and her name is Shamora.  As the two lovers dance alone, they are attacked by assassins!  He is struck by an unknown power. . .a blinding white light. . .and then he remembers nothing except waking up in this strange dark mirror of a world.

We return to Rebecca Chambers and Jean-Paul, the agent who is helping infiltrate the gang.  Unfortunately, they are overheard discussing their plans on a hidden camera and are attacked by Chango and his gang members!  

Tensen arrives as a shootout begins.  We see that he can form a sort of energy shield with one of his hands as he tries to protect Chambers from gunfire.

Not realizing that Jean-Paul is one of her partners, Tensen destroys him with an energy blast during the fight!  

As Chango makes his escape during the confusion of the fight, Chambers gets the drop on Tensen and takes him prisoner, intending to arrest him for the murder of her undercover partner.  

As they leave the club, Chambers' other partner arrives on the scene after hearing the gunfire.  Tensen takes advantage of the distraction and uses his non-lethal shield power to escape custody.

We follow Chango as he tries to escape the club, only to be murdered by one of his own men, who intends to take his place.  As the murderer gloats about his big future plans for the crime family, Tensen arrives and executes the mobster with a blast of energy.  Rebecca and Pittman arrive on the scene to witness the killing and once again take Tensen into custody.

At the end, we return to California, where news of the attack on the nightclub has reached Conquest.  Now that Tensen's location is known, assassins are dispatched to finish him off. 

To be continued. . .


Okay, there it is. . .Justice #1.  Let's break it on down!

With any first issue of a comic series, I expect two things.  First, does the story introduce new characters and their situations in a reader-friendly manner?  Second, does the story make me want to read the next issue?  Just TWO things.  I don't think that's too much to ask.  You'd be surprised how many first issues fail one or both of these simple things.

For the first point, Justice #1 does a good job of introducing Justice Warrior Tensen and his arrival in this strange new world.  The late, great comic legend Archie Goodwin keeps a nice aura of mystery around the character, while feeding the reader JUST enough tiny little bits of information that let you know there's more to come.  

All we know right now about Tensen is his name, that he's from another place that resembles our own world, someone tried to kill him and he somehow ended up here, and that he has some pretty brutal powers he's not afraid to use on anyone he sees as deserving it.  That may seem like a lot, but as the series moves forward, it's just scratching the surface.  There's a lot more to learn about Tensen.

The story itself is pretty simple. . .a mysterious warrior from another world arrives in our own and immediately starts leaving a body count behind as he searches for answers while running afoul of the law.  It reads almost like a Punisher story with a super powered twist.  It works in its simplicity.  Goodwin didn't try to get fancy, he just told a straightforward tale of a stranger in a strange land looking for answers.

On to the second point.  Does this first issue make me want to read the second?  Yes it does.  The simple, fast paced tale reads quickly and definitely leaves you wanting to know more about this mysterious warrior who isn't shy about blasting anyone who stands in his way.  As the series goes on into a rotating roster of writers and artists (a general downside of the entire New Universe line), things get a little shaky, but this first issue in the hands of comic veteran Goodwin certainly gets the series off to a good start.

On the art side of things. . .

To be honest, the art is a little bland.  Not bad, but not great.  It tells the story, but doesn't really try any harder than that.  Generally-speaking, the art on all the first issues of the New Universe line shared a sort of generic look that probably didn't do the line any favors.  Justice is no exception.  The art isn't really a high point (Yet. . .there is a short run of later issues with some work by Keith Giffen that really stand out).

All that said, there IS one facet of this issue's art that I REALLY like a lot, and that is Geof Isherwood's portrayal of Tensen's powers.  The energy blasts that he uses to dispatch his enemies aren't some little puny beams of light. . .they're huge, brutal explosions that completely engulf their target, knocking them off their feet and literally disintegrating them into piles of dust!  

Take a look at the scans above to see what I mean.  The way that Tensen's powers are illustrated make them look, well. . .powerful!  They definitely don't look like something any average human could possibly survive.


Thanks to the writing of legendary comic veteran Archie Goodwin, Justice #1 is a pretty darn good read.  It's a simple, fast-paced story about a stranger with brutal powers somehow arriving in our world and searching for answers.  Goodwin leaves an aura of mystery around the main character, making me want to read the next issue and learn more.

The art isn't anything special, with the exception of the portrayal of the main character's powers, but it isn't bad.  It tells the story, but doesn't reach any higher beyond that.  

Overall, Justice #1 is a great first issue.  It's not the best comic I've ever read, but it's nowhere near the worst.  It's a simple and solid opening for a comic series that I'll recommend to anyone looking for a brutal Punisher-style story with a super power twist.  

Justice was never collected in trade form, but from my experience, you can find almost every issue in the bargain bin.  The later issues are a little harder to find, but they're out there.  

The series takes a LOT of twists and turns as the New Universe in general struggled to survive (The main character goes through two complete overhauls in the course of 32 issues), but all in all, it's worth checking out.

Up Next. . .

How about I surprise myself by reaching into a random box of my collection and reviewing whatever I pull out?  Is it gonna be a retro review?  Is it gonna be a mini-series?  A mainstream superhero comic? Some strange relic?

Let's find out!

Be there or be square.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Longbox Junk - WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1

Welcome to Longbox Junk, where the comics are cheap and the reviews are free!

October has passed and here we are in November already!  I didn't get quite as many entries for the 2021 Longbox Junk Halloween Horror Party in as I would have liked to, but I still had a lot of fun spotlighting some of the new horror comics on the stands.

But now it's time to get back into the bargain bins!  

Before getting into Halloween mode, I was taking a look at some of the comics that you're practically guaranteed to find in just about any bargain bin you might happen to be digging through.  Let's continue on with that, shall we?  We shall!

The comic at hand is the first issue of another one of Image's early "We wanna be Marvel!" series.  Actually, it's from one of their FIRST series that they put out, and one of the original "hot" titles that grabbed public attention and pretty much got the ball rolling for Image in their early years.  

WildC.A.T.s was founding Image partner and superstar artist Jim Lee's first creator owned project, and when it hit the stands it was HUGE.  A quick bit of internet research tells me that wholesale sales to retailers for this first issue were right up there at about ONE MILLION COPIES!  

So there were a LOT of copies of the early issues of this series sold, which is why you can reliably find them in just about any bargain bin you might be Longbox Junkin' and cheap comic spelunkin' in.  But now the question becomes: Is this ubiquitous relic of the 90's comic boom any good?  

Let's find out!

Image (1992)


SCRIPT: Jim Lee & Brandon Choi
INKS: Scott Williams
COVER: Jim Lee & Scott Williams


It's a little busy in that special 90's-tastic way, but I like it!  The bright colors pop, it's nicely drawn, and it really catches the eye.  It's just a good, classic team hero pose cover.  Nothing spectacular, but it's definitely worthy of a turn up on the "Wall O' Covers" in my office at work now and then. . .but now that I think of it,  Zealot's outfit IS a little too skimpy for the workplace, so probably not.  Still a solid cover, overall.  Let's get inside!


We begin our tale with several flashback scenes as a mysterious woman seems to be travelling through time searching for someone. . .

We follow her to the 1990's, where she rescues a homeless man named Jacob Marlowe from an attack.  We learn that she calls herself Void and that Marlowe is actually "Lord Emp", one of the four Lords of Power, belonging to an alien race known as the Kherubim, and the Champion of Mankind!  She tells him that she's been sent to find him in order to prepare for a coming war.

Flashing forward a few years and find that the formerly homeless Marlowe is now a multi-billionaire at the head of the international Halo Corporation.  He seems to be reluctant to accept his role as hero and champion of the human race in an upcoming war, but Void insists that preparations continue to be made. . .

To prepare for the upcoming battle, Marlowe and Void have been gathering a group of "gifted" warriors with superhuman abilities.  We are introduced to several of them, including team leader "Spartan", a highly-advanced android almost indistinguishable from a human, "Warblade", a hybrid human/alien able to transform his body like liquid metal, and "Maul", another human/alien hybrid able to increase and decrease his body mass, with his intelligence going down as his mass goes up, and likewise his intelligence increasing as he becomes smaller.


Moving away from Marlowe and his team, we look in on their opposition, the Cabal.  Led by an alien being known as Helspont (a member of a race called Daemonites) and based aboard a gigantic hidden submarine, they are also gathering warriors for the upcoming battle.   They have discovered a new "gifted" being and are determined to get to her first before their Kherubim enemies. . .


We follow a mysterious man into a strip club, where a dancer is attacked by a group of men who are revealed to actually be alien Daemonites when we learn that the dancer, "Voodoo" can see them for who they truly are.  

Luckily for her, the mysterious man we were following at first turns out to be a Kherubim agent. Called "Grifter", he is a supernaturally-gifted marksman and hand to hand fighter.  He's there to find Voodoo, but his partner is nowhere to be found.  He leaps into the battle as the Daemonites drop their disguises and begin killing everyone in sight!

As the battle continues and casualties mount, Marlowe sees news reports about what's happening.  He and his team move swiftly to the scene and join in the fight!

Even with the extra firepower, the Kherubim agents are faced with a brutal battle, but when Grifter's missing partner, the warrior known as "Sister Zealot", a highly-skilled Kherubim assassin/monk from a secret society known as the "Coda", finally arrives, the battle against the Daemonites is ended in short order.

After the battle, Zealot introduces herself to Marlowe and informs him that they are also Kherubim and have the same goals in protecting Voodoo.  Marlowe invites Zealot and Grifter to his Halo base so that they can further confer on what to do next.  But as they talk, a surviving Daemonite detonates an explosive, destroying the strip club!

At the end, with Voodoo and her Kherubim protectors seemingly dead, we see Helspont making plans with one his Daemonite agents. . .Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle!  DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUNN!!

To be continued. . .


Allrighty, then. . .let's break it on down!

There are a few things that I expect the first issue of a comic series to provide.  A bare minimum bar of expectations that I don't think are too much to ask in return for considering giving a company my money for their comics on a monthly basis.  This series is long completed, but it's new to ME, so I hold it to the same standard as any other first issue.

FIRST. . .Does it introduce new characters and their situation in an easy to understand manner?  Weeeeeeell. . .sorta.  This isn't really a great introduction to these characters and what's happening.  It's not terrible, but things are just thrown at the reader one after the other with very little explanation.

In 2021, I have the advantage of going to Wikipedia and seeing that this story is about a  centuries-long war between two alien races, the Kherubim. . .a nearly immortal race that resemble humans and have a variety of exceptional powers and skills, and the Daemonites. . .a hideous-appearing race whose main powers are possession and mind control of other beings.  

Unfortunately for readers in 1992, the internet wasn't quite what it is today and the reader of this comic was sort of on their own to pick out the story between the lines.  It jumps around and it's kind of hard to see how the pieces fit together.

SECOND. . .Does it make me want to read the next issue?  Honestly, not really.  This first issue throws so much at the reader that it makes it kind of hard to become invested in any of it.  This comic came out at a time when a series could be driven by the art alone.  It looks like that was exactly what Image was banking on here, because truthfully, the story just isn't that interesting. 

Don't get me wrong, it's not a BAD story.  it's just sort of. . .there.  Serving as a framework for Jim Lee's art.  But once you get past the art, what you have is a pretty average story that is shamelessly an "edgy" mix of the X-Men and Avengers in that early Image "We want to be Marvel!" manner.  

So this is pretty much a comic built around the art, with the story as an afterthought.  Okay, fair enough, I guess.  So let's talk about the main attraction then.  Jim Lee is a modern comic legend for good reason, and you can see that reason in this comic.

Yeah, there's belts and buckles and pouches galore, in the most 90's-Tastic way.  Yeah, there's impossibly-built women in cheesecake poses meant to appeal to the lowest common male denominator.  But once you get past the 90's excess, you can see TRUE talent shining through on every page of this comic!  

Jim Lee gives these pages a feeling of motion and movement, full of detail and action that is definitely the signature look of one of the modern greats.  Where the story falls flat, the art is vibrant and exciting.  I can definitely see why this comic was such a huge hit when it came out.  


On the one hand, we have a story that's pretty average.  It doesn't quite reach the bare minimum first issue expectations of introducing new characters and situations in an easy to read and understand manner.  It also fails to hook me into wanting to read the next issue, with characters thrown so quickly into the mix that it's hard to get invested in what happens to any of them.

On the other hand, we have a fantastic example of some great art from one of the great modern artists, Jim Lee.  His pencils are dynamic, vibrant, and interesting once you get past some of the notorious 90's excesses.

Taken together, there's a comic worth reading here.  The story isn't ALL bad, and the art definitely hits some 90's low points here and there.  Overall, it adds up to a decent comic that is still pretty readable even almost 30 years down the road (1992 was almost THIRTY YEARS ago? Damn, I feel old!)

If you're digging through a bargain bin, chances are you WILL spot one of these.  Go ahead, spend a buck and give it a read.  It's not the best 90's comic I've ever read, but it's far from the worst.

Up Next. . .

More of that sweet Longbox Junk that you're practically guaranteed to find!

How about we take a look at something from Marvel's New Universe?
DP7? Justice? Nightmask? Psi-Force? Star Brand?  I've got 'em ALL!

Decisions. . .decisions.

Be there or be square!