First Look for January 12, 2018: Fighting Back
One commonality between the two comics I look at today is fighting back. In both, someone is injured intentionally and there’s a need to get retribution. In Letter 44, it’s President Blades. His country was severely hurt when Germany detonated a nuclear bomb at their staging area so he breaks out the big gun in retaliation. He uses the space-borne laser to destroy a major portion of the German military…so now they’re even? In the other issue, Dr. Weems is fired because he’s too old. That’s a pretty serious accusation and he proves it’s false by creating an aging gun with which he threatens the entire city. In both comics, the wronged party fights back and takes revenge on the aggressor and actually, in these two cases, things seem to work out.
Letter 44 #13
Redshift Chapter 6 by Charles Soule and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque. Published by Oni Press, 2012.
In this last issue of the Redshift story arc we see some things resolved and others just opening up. President Blades makes a public announcement to the US and the world that there are aliens in the asteroid belt. He also points out that the petty squabbles of nations need to stop so that we can present a common front to the visitors. In an effort to put old enmity behind us, he zaps the 1st Panzer Brigade of Germany to pay them back for detonating the nuke in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, up on the Clarke, Willett tells Gomez to pass a message on to his alien friends giving them 15 minutes to bring the rest of the crew back or else he’ll use the “big gun” from the Clarke on them (like that’ll do much damage to a race that can destroy moons). No response is forthcoming and as Willett prepares to pull the trigger he gets a call from the Colonel. The rest of the crew is fine an having an audience with 3 of the aliens and they’re actually helping baby Astra. It turns out they can “speak” English but in sorta a Yoda-ish/backwards manner. And the reason they’re here is because they want to save humanity from something dangerous that is on it’s way.
And as we head back to Earth, we see things are finally feeling a bit less tense as well. Congressman Higgins stops the impeachment proceedings and announces his resignation (after a bit of blackmail from the First Lady) and while Germany prepares the advanced weaponry ex-President Carroll supplied them with, things look like they may be the calm before the storm. I’m sure things will heat up again soon.
The art is it’s usual good work and I like the designs of the aliens. The fact that the three different aliens use color coded dialog boxes is a nice touch but I did have a couple issues with some of the panels where Willett and Charlotte are angry – it just sorta seems like perspective breaks down a bit. On the whole though, it’s another good issue.
You can find first looks at other issues in this title linked in my January Reading List.
I rate this issue a B-.
Tales to Astonish #43
The Mad Master of Time! by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Don Heck. Published by Marvel Comics, 1963.
The “villain” in this story is simply an old scientist who’s been told he’s too old to continue working, so he was fired. Enraged at being called old, he designs an aging gun that will cause the target to age (or get younger once old). With this wonderful invention, he threatens to age the citizens if they don’t turn the city over to him. Henry Pym can’t let this happen so he tracks the scientist down and confronts him in his lab. It might not have been the smartest way to engage someone with an aging gun since as soon as the scientist spots him, he zaps Ant-Man with it and he gets old. Frail and unable to stop the scientist, Ant-Man is trapped in a flower pot but once Elias Weems leaves to follow through on his threat, Henry uses his enlarging gas to become normal size and escape. As Weems shoots a crowd of onlookers he inadvertently hits his grandson who starts to age like the rest of the people. Distraught, the scientist fumbles to switch his gun to reverse the aging but he drops it and Ant-Man’s insect friends catch the weapon. They reverse the aging and things are resolved. In the end, instead of throwing the scientist in jail, they let him return to his job – obviously he can still build valuable inventions.
My main trouble with this issue is the premise. If someone can create an aging gun why don’t they use it to make themselves young again so they can get their job back? Why take it out on the rest of the city when one employer (or boss) is ageist?
You can find first looks at other issues from Marvel 1963 linked in my January Reading List.
I rate this issue a C.