Titan Comics has a few new series out this week and some of them have some incredible history behind them. Fighting American for instance, was co-created by Jack Kirby! I had to dip into this time travel yarn and see what the fuss was about and not so surprisingly it’s a big nod to the Golden Age of comics.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The Cold War superhero returns – originally launched in 1954 by the creators of Captain America, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby! When the 1950s heroes find themselves trapped in the modern world, how will they handle what society has become, and what dangers will they face? With new villains to contend with and enemies from their past pursuing them, what daring adventures could Fighting American and Speedboy find themselves in now?
Why does this matter?
Aside from this being a big year for Jack Kirby aficionados (he would have been 100 back in August) this comic aims to have a little fun with the Golden Age of comics. The characters talk differently, act differently, and by jove they punch communism in the mouth! Gordon Rennie writes this issue which has a clever plot sending these oldschool 50’s heroes into 2017.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I can hear the sound effects and I don’t even need to read them!
I was instantly taken by the dialogue in this issue due to the sometimes hilarious but not on purpose stuff the Fighting American spits out. The guy is way over the top, “I brought all the hammers you’re ever going to need!” he shouts punching the heroes, and it’s interesting to see it taken so seriously. Rennie sets up the issue with the characters punching some communist scum and then jumping to the future to take out the rest. The problem is that 2017 is very much different and Rennie explores the confusion of these heroes well. Fighting American’s sidekick Speedboy is also taken aback by the scantily clad girls in the advertisements, which is a nice reminder of how things have changed. There’s lots of fun blips of these characters reflecting on their surroundings, which further helps convey the awkwardness these heroes are facing.
There’s also a promise for a much darker tone for future issues. I won’t spoil it, but I was getting some The Authority vibes in how Rennie approached the villain. Clearly these heroes aren’t ready to take on villains who are sadistic and kill for the love of it. It’ll be interesting to see how these characters change, especially since this issue does more to set up their personalities and has yet to drag them through the mud of the future.
Duke Mighten draws a good issue especially if you’re looking for that Golden Age feel. The heroes are always posing in those striking arms up sort of way and punching and kicking is about as dramatic as Kirby would have drawn. There’s also some interesting panel work pushing the focus on a character’s mouth (with their teeth in full detailed view) or an angle focused on a mysterious box peering past the hero’s arms. The story is told well via Mighten’s layouts and it feels very fresh. There’s also great detail throughout and even the time travel gizmo on Fighting American’s wrist is rendered in high detail.
The classic villains are way over the top.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The hook of the issue doesn’t drop till the last few pages as much of this work spends its time having the heroes talk big and unrealistically. It’s not bad necessarily, but it runs its course and the reader will most likely get it by midway through. There isn’t a whole lot to the plot itself aside from the heroes talking in an old-school way and then reflecting on 2017, but the hook certainly makes up for that.
Is It Good?
I went into this issue completely blind and came out happier for it. It’s a great setup that plays around with Golden Age heroes in a modern time that has lost self-respect, dignity, and a decent villain who just wants to rob a bank or two. Fighting American has the whiz of classic comics with a twist you won’t want to miss.