Monday, June 18, 2007

The Jam: Super Cool Color Injected Turbo Adventure from Hell! #1

The Jam: Super Cool Color Injected Turbo Adventure from Hell! #1, May 1988, Comico the Comic Company
by Bernie E. Mireault
editor: Diana Schutz

The cover of The Jam: Super Cool Color Injected Turbo Adventure from Hell! #1 reminded me of a work by Paul Grist, featuring a seemingly average Joe with a touch of transparent personality garbed in an outrageous superhero suit not unlike a character from Jack Staff. The Jam, however, is the most domestic superhero I've ever seen, and perhaps the most American. Out of work, the Jam, a.k.a. Gordie, spends a day running errands in this issue, and after depositing a check, he stumbles across some bank robbers and thwarts them in his civilian clothes, with actually little mention to his vigilante persona. He takes down the thugs simply because it was the right thing to do, and he establishes himself as a moral standard even when one of the thieves offers a stashed part of the take for their release. Unfortunately, "no good deed," and Gordie is mistaken for one of the gang and is hauled off to jail, where the Jam's lawyer friend arranged his release. In retrospect, it's an ineffective twist in the story, but the kind of treacherous luck that might befall Peter Parker on his way to Aunt May's surprise birthday party, or something. In the end, when Gordie's girlfriend laments about their financial woes, the Jam suits up and finds the lost, stolen cash, and though his conscience struggles with the decision, he keeps the dough to pay for their woes. Again, proof positive that the Jam is the most normal hero I've ever read; his tale is a volley of luck and circumstance, a real slice of life in the mundane existence of an urban avenger. Following yesterday's World War Hulk, this was a much more grounded read, a refreshing, insightful piece of storytelling. Though this issue initially impressed as a Paul Grist riff, it actually has a strong voice of its own, and it asks a poignant question: If you were a vigilante, would you always do the right thing? For the world? For yourself?

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