Thursday, December 15, 2011

Avengers 1959 #1 (of 5)

Marvel, 19 pages, $ 2.99

Writer/artist: Howard Chaykin
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

Well, this is a comic written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, so you know what you’re in for.

Oh, you don’t?

Okay, in a nutshell: The characters are a dashing, wise-cracking, more than a little bit snotty bunch, and there’s a lot of sex and violence.

Also: textures. Many, many, many textures. Dense, computer-generated textures, mainly pertaining to clothing and floors, but also to other surfaces in the story. In this instance, there’s more textures than sex, even, given that the book is rated for “teens and up.”

Still, Avengers 1959 is very much your vintage Howard Chaykin comic. And it’s a brilliant choice of a vehicle for him, too, since the concept fits his sensibilities to a tee.

The story features yet another heretofore unseen group of Avengers that was active in the late 1950s—I understand they were first introduced in a recent issue of New Avengers that also had art by Mr. Chaykin—specializing in Nazi hunting.

The group includes Chaykin’s signature Marvel character Dominic Fortune, as well as Kraven the Hunter, Sabretooth, Namora, Bloodstone and a guy named Silver Sable—the father of the eponymous sometimes-Spider-Man ally, I presume. The leader of the group is (who else) Nick Fury.

So that’s quite an eclectic cast there.

On the downside, the plot is awfully formulaic, and the characters don’t seem particularly distinctive or well-rounded yet. I mean, 11 of the book’s 19 pages are devoted to four scenes in which individual Avengers members are attacked by the bad guys, and the other eight pages make up the introduction, two interludes and a cliffhanger ending. It’s not the most ingenious way ever of building a genre story.

That said, all the Chaykin trademarks—which, lest we forget, also include rock-solid storytelling, stylish art and snappy dialogue—are there, and the book is shaping up to be a fun, fast-paced romp through the period Marvel Universe, including visits in Latveria and Wakanda. There’s a lot to like here, if you think that might be your cup of tea.

Grade: C+

1 comment:

britney_spheres said...

Very well, Mr. Debris. Though it´s not American Flagg Chaykin´s too much of a pro to let his readers completely down.