Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Whisper #30

Whisper # 30, November 1989, First Comics
writer: Steven Grant
artist: Steve Epting
letterer: David Weiss
colorist: Rich Powers
editor: Laurel Fitch

When I was shopping in downtown Glendale, Arizona last week, I was excited to find a dollar rack of old comic books at one of the district's signature antique shops, and I selected a few based solely on their cover appeal. (More on Glendale in my second quarterly report, due by this weekend.) First Comics' Whisper #30 boasts standard superhero fare, the vigilante rooftop crouch, but what struck me was this detail under artist Steve Epting's signature:

Could that "B.T." indicate that this issue contains some early Bruce Timm work, pre-Batman: The Animated Series? Alas, if Timm collaborated on this project in any way, his contribution ended with the cover. Still, for some, a dollar is worth the price of anything Timm has touched, especially before he became a pioneer in syndicated superhero animation.

In many ways, Whisper #30 read like a first issue, established the quirks and circumstances of each character with a natural freshness that made this second chapter in an ongoing story arc surprisingly easy to read. While Whisper, in her civilian identity, tries to escape the ghosts of her violent past by trying to start an artist colony, her enemies are rebuilding their villainous operations, and crime steadily rises in the city. Whisper stashes her costume in the future site of her co-op, but a helpless, homeless girl finds it and unwittingly bares the mantle. I assume she will find herself in a heap of trouble sooner than later. Meanwhile, Whisper stumbles into an arms smuggling ring, and . . . well, to be continued. I hate it when that happens.

Epting's visuals were really touch and go throughout this issue. Some panels resonated with a raw potential, a rough but appealing style that spoke to the strengths of Grant's script. Other pages seemed rushed, and the figure work reminded me of one of my favorite artists from that time, Norm Breyfogle. My cynical mind can't help but wonder if any of these guys were ghosting for each other, like the good old Golden Age days. More on Breyfogle in future posts, as well. This review is becoming less of a legitimate entry and more of a teaser for things to come . . .

In the grand scheme, Whisper may not have contributed much to the superhero landscape, but this issue spoke softly to me, albeit through two tiny letters on its cover. Sometimes, when wading through the sea of comics out there, that's all it takes.

1 comment:

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