Pineapple Man #3, December 1996, SoloGraphics
by Sam & Gen Campos
Superhero fans owe a great deal of thanks to the animal kingdom. The beasts and insects of the Earth have inspired some of our generation's greatest icons: Batman, Spider-man, Hawkman, and Ant-man are the first of many to come to mind; the phenomenon is so rampant, C-list villains like the Kangaroo and Orca (Spidey and Batman villains, respectively) have embodied the ridiculousness of taking this concept too far. Interestingly, even the plant kingdom wasn't safe from creators' clamoring for ideas, i.e. Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing, and the Floronic Man. The synthesis between nature and humanity makes sense from an ubermensch perspective; despite the advances of mankind, the forces of the plant and animal kingdoms have always fascinated us and remained a focus for study, simply because their advances progress beyond our control. I mean, for every garden gently tended in backyards across America, acres of wildlife and rainforest thrive without the help of man, completely under their own power. Therefore, imagine combing the forces of these two bio-realms? What could be more powerful than a merger between nature and man?
How about a merger between man and food?
Yesterday's review of Pizza Man #3 was a light-hearted take on this rare superhero niche. Today's subject, Pineapple Man #3, is a bit more serious. (And, yes, I understand that a pineapple is by nature a plant first, but as a fruit it offers little other ecological value than to be eaten, thus, it's a food, okay?) Pineapple Man is a Hawaiian hero (like the Dog the Bounty Hunter!), and in this issue, he and martial artist Luk Fun are on trial of some technological weapons smugglers, and during their confrontation with them in the mountains of East Oahu, the heroes encounter a mutated wrestler responsible for several civilian deaths. The hulk quickly dispatches of the smugglers and the heroes narrowly escape with their lives. Convicted to capture this villain, Pineapple Man, in his civilian guise, trains and meditates for weeks. Then, again with Fun, PM encounters the brute again, and while his kung-fu compatriot gets his butt kicked, meditates . . . which eventually and inexplicably drives the demon away. Considering that this issue was a two-part slugfest, the resolution was surprisingly action-free. Meditating? Chanting? Even if this hero didn't transform into a big pineapple, I'd find this twist just a little fruity.
Still, I found myself moderately entertained by this issue in spite of myself. Sam Campos isn't the best artist but is obviously a passionate one, and his action sequences are intense and compelling. During the talking head interludes, Campos betrays his admiration for the likes of Jim Lee and Ron Lim, which isn't a bad thing if only a little transparent. While I appreciate his efforts to layer this tale with a pseudo spiritual subplot, I was amused by the fact that, when Pineapple Man felt the most driven about capturing his demonic foe, he went on a religious retreat to get his thoughts together and device an innovative method of combat. Who knows how many victims that brute could have killed while Pineapple Man had his heads in the clouds? It's an interesting potential consequence to an otherwise dynamic set of circumstances.
So, does food make for a legitimate source of power and responsibility of superheroes, like animals and plants? Well, I'm not holding my breath for Captain Lasagna any time soon, but people need food to live, so it holds a certain amount of power over humanity itself. Makes you wonder how different comics would be if someone threw a sub sandwich through Bruce Wayne's window, eh?