Thursday, March 08, 2007

Spider-man, Storm & Luke Cage

Spider-man, Storm & Luke Cage, May 2005, Marvel Comics/American Cancer Society
contributors unlisted

Every year I volunteer for the local American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, a twenty-four hour track and field event designed to raise money and support for cancer prevention, research, and survivorship. I picked up this special comic book at a related event last night, read it on the road this morning, and surprised to find a genuine superhero adventure smoldering beneath an anti-smoking public service announcement. Luke Cage is coaching a citywide track team but his star runner has been enticed by a secret syndicate encouraging the kid to smoke and through his race, led by a new supervillain appropriately dubbed Smokescreen. Cage, Spidey, and Storm break up the ring and get the athlete back on track – literally, I guess. The writer maintained the integrity of the message while preserving a sense of adventure and wonder for a younger audience, the intended readership for such a preventative lesson. The artist also implemented a solid sense of page layout and drama, in the old mighty Marvel manner with a touch of Mike Wieringo influence. The creators should have been credited for their successful efforts, I say, but I can understand why they weren’t. Preventing cancer is the real inspiration for this issue. It’s the kind of enemy anyone can fight, with a little time. It’s the kind of cause that calls everyone to be a hero.

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