Friday, October 22, 2004

Doctor Spectrum #2

writer: Sara "Samm" Barnes
artist: Travel Foreman
published by Marvel Max

Back in the 80s, everyone made a big deal about DC's two great deconstructionist comics that tore the genre a new asshole: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen.
It wasn't until later that people realized that Marvel had quietly published a classic themselves in Squadron Supreme, a cautionary fable about how absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Now, with this book and Supreme Power, Marvel is attempting to revisit the parallel universe of the Squadron (a group of DC Universe analogs who band together to control a world they see as random and violent -- and end up becoming worse than the problem). What they've accomplished so far is nothing short of brilliance. I won't even attempt to discuss Straczynski's work on the parent title, as I'm a few issues behind, but love what I've read so far...just love it to death.
Despite what appears to be a slow start, Doctor Spectrum looks pretty damn good in its own right. As a meditation on DC's Silver Age Green Lantern character (Hal Jordan, soon to reappear in the DCU any day now), the series takes Doctor Spectrum's role in the military industrial complex to more logical conclusions, where he's more of a government puppet than a test pilot who maintains a secret identity in spite of wearing a mask that hides almost as much as Clark Kent's glasses.
The dark tone afforded by the Max line is letting the writers of this and Supreme Power explore a lot of possibilites that most superhero books can't due to their all-ages tone. And it works, dammit. I'm hooked, I'm a hopeless addict, and I'm on this train till the terminus.

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