Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Power & Glory #4

Power & Glory #4, May 1994, Malibu Comics
writer/artist: Howard Chaykin
letterer: Ken Bruzenak
colorists: ‘Bu Tones & Lydia Nomura
editors: Dan Danko & Kara Lamb

I mentioned Howard Chaykin in my Captain Confederacy post a few days ago, so I’d be remiss not to review one of his comics. Appropriately, Power & Glory is yet another Captain America riff, with an emphasis on the celebrity a super soldier would garner from today’s hero hungry world. When the adventures Apex, short for American Powerhouse Experiment, lose their public appeal despite his sidekick’s (staged) death, the hero and his entourage experience a hilarious sequence of romantic entanglements, making Chaykin’s epic less heroic than soap operatic. Eventually, Apex’s benefactor Malcome LeStrange connects with trafficker-turned-movie mogul Jean Paul M’Butu and their cooperative efforts seem as conspiratorial as they do natural. This is the last issue of the four issue miniseries yet Chaykin’s writing is so natural that I’m interested even in the midst of this climatic chapter. Further, while his choice to keep his characters in the forefront of his page layouts, avoiding extensively detailed background work to emphasize on his protagonists’ expressions and reactions, his style is masterful – the opus of a pro playing with the narrative boundaries of his genre. I’m interested in reading Chaykin’s American Flagg now more than ever, and I hope I’ll find an issue before the A Comic A Day challenge is over. In fact, such a review could offer a penultimate analysis of the Captain America paradigm . . . perhaps better dubbed the homemade soldier motif. Chaykin obviously knows what he’s doing. While Captain Confederacy tweaked the socio-political context of the homemade soldier subgenre, Power & Glory emphasized the socio-pop-cultural. Are comic book creators just really that patriotic?

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