Flare Adventures #18, January 2007, Heroic Publishing
writers: Wilson Hill, Dennis Mallonee
artists: Rob Jones, Dick Giordano, Mark Propst, Tim Burgard, Stan Sakai
colorists: Michael Kelleher, Heebink, Meyer, and Salibu (full names unlisted)
letterers: ComiCraft’s Albert Dschesne and Stan Sakai
When I purchased Flare #18, I expected to read a light-hearted action-packed Christmas story. Characters with names like Chrissie Claus, Cernunnos the Anti-Claus, and Sigma-Chi Master of Claus Fu strike me more as the one-time gag type, exploiting the lighter elements of the holiday to tell a pseudo-superhero story inspired by the yuletide season. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In the first of two short stories, the Chrissie Claus installment was the last in a multipart epic, so entrenched in its own back story that past events required a synopsis on the inside front cover and through the narrative of the comic itself, culminating in a fight sequence so laden with dialogue that the action might as well have not happened. This story’s saving grace is the cameo of Santa Claus, whose role in this tale was too brief for my tastes. Forget these other characters; the creators throw so many shapely chicks at us that in the end I can scarcely tell them apart. Put the big guy in for a few rounds. No matter how much continuity surrounds the story, nothing would draw in a general audience like good old St. Nick.
The second story in this issue was just as perplexing, if not completely pointless. Starring Flare, the namesake for this series, this short tale depicts the heroine visiting a library, reading children a tale she and her sister wrote in their childhood. She confesses that her lead character, a stick-boy, is stupid and explains his futile relationship with wildlife, until he stumbles upon a bound princess whose sexually suggestive solution to her predicament is way too inappropriate for Flare’s young audience. When the troll that captured the princess emerges and pursues the clumsy hero, the stick-boy defeats the brute by outrunning him – the troll literally topples over, asleep! It’s an odd little story that would’ve been funny except it wasn’t, and I perceive it as simply another opportunity to depict a female character in a skimpy costume. Perusing the ad featuring back issues’ covers, that seems to be all that Flare Adventures really has to offer. For some, I guess that’s enough of Christmas treat. This geek needs a little more stuffing for his stocking.