Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The 7 Guys of Justice #10

The 7 Guys of Justice #10, October 2001, False Idol Studios
writer: Brian Joines
artist: Joshua Rowe
letterer: Michael Thomas

I attended a funeral today. The whole lower-the-body-into-the-ground shebang. I’ve never been to a ceremony like that before. Of course, I’ve been to funerals, but my family traditionally cremates its dead, so my experience with graveside rituals is limited to film and comic books. Comics like The 7 Guys of Justice.

Funny. I gave 7 Guys the flip test on Saturday and was ready to read it, but an impromptu trip to a comics shop introduced me to Stan Lee Meets Spider-Man, the perfect issue to celebrate the A Comic A Day project’s first three months. Now, I open The 7 Guys of Justice, and where are our heroes? Watching an ally descend into the ground. I couldn’t have planned it better if I intended to, but believe me, I didn’t.

My favorite part of reading a new superhero comic book is often the names the creators have come up with for their protagonists. Astro City and Top 10 have some cool super monikers, but to its credit, these 7 Guys take the cake. Nightie Knight, Hunter-Gather, the villainous Bad Art . . . very clever. Unfortunately, that’s where my appreciation for this issue ends.

In this chapter, heroes are disappeared, abducted by Mussolini’s head, which is alive and well in a special jar. The team uses the Surprise’s signal device (another fun name, but one that should be italicized because of its commonality as a regular word) to trace the Tenth Reich’s location – the others weren’t successful – where the goofy Talon, best described as a Harvey Birdman rip-off, a spoof of a spoof, you see, is the only one to emerge unbrainwashed. A few heroes show up at the end, familiar to faithful readers I presume, in a “to be continued” twist. Yay.

I like a few of the ideas the writer rapidly glosses over here, to imply a depth to the 7 Guys’ superhero world, but Joines is way too wordy to let any of the good stuff really sink in. His attempts at humor require a heartier touch of subtlety; his subplot-ridden interludes need more explanation to provide new readers like me a context with which to really enjoy them. The writer’s attention is in all the wrong places.

Further, this issue is loaded is typos. Words are missing letters or blatantly misspelled, some of the sentence’s structure is awkward and just plain incorrect, and the speech balloons are poorly arranged so some panels do not read the way they were intended. It’s very distracting, and in the end, I was looking for it. Never a good sign.

Although this issue begins with a compelling cemetery scene, the rest of the story is rather light-hearted. A relief from today’s real life events. The 7 Guys of Justice may not be my champions of choice, but when they’re the only ones that show up, they get the job done. Sometimes that’s the only thing you can ask for from a hero.

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