With this entry, the second review of Free Comic Book Day 2009, A Comic A Day celebrates its 550th post! Considering that several of my posts contain more than one review, I can only imagine how many comics I've discussed during the course of this personal challenge gone awry, but thanks to my annual allotment of free comics, the fanaticism continues! That said . . .
Fist of Justice #1, Digital Webbing Press
Mike Imboden (w); Andre Coelho & Pow Rodrix (a); Edemilson Alexandre, Mick Clausen, Matt Webb, & Ryan Scott (c), Ed Dukeshire (l)
SIGNIFICANCE: Digital Webbing was wise to choose Fist of Justice as its Free Comic Book Day contribution, considering the inevitable success of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the mainstream attention superheroes will receive as a result. Further, Digital Webbing is actually one part publishing house, one part on-line creative network, so newbies to comics could benefit from the knowledge that such a traditionally print-oriented medium has become a prevalent, multifaceted presence on the Internet, too. Personally, while I've read some Digital Webbing titles in the past, I'd never explored their website before today, and I'm impressed at the depth of their talent and resources.
STORY: Fist of Justice uses many of the superhero storytelling standards fanboys take for granted and coordinates them into an adventure that focuses on action and character development. Following his greatest failure at the hands of the evil Dr. Dibuk, Marc Mason, a.k.a. the Fist of Justice was captured for thirty years, until a magical comrade saved him and restored his youth. With another hero touting the Fist of Justice title, Marc was a man out of time, until another old friend, the retired hero Black Light, convinced him to confront his loose cannon successor and take his mantle back. A few fisticuffs later, Marc Mason gets the upper hand and becomes the Fist of Justice again! With the origin of Captain America and reclamation stories like Batman: KnightsEnd in mind, Fist of Justice retains a Golden Age charm while keeping a contemporary theme of absolute power corrupting absolutely at the forefront. Plenty of action keeps the potential for emo introspection at bay and makes for an adventurous, character-oriented inaugural issue.
ART: I'm actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this issue's interior art. Pow Rodrix gets inside front cover credit for his three-page origin sequence, but Andre Coelho illustrates the majority of this issue and maintains a balanced sense of mood and sequential choreography. His art is particularly aided by the colorists, who kept things dark and cool-toned until our hero's triumph in the end. Further, a real visual treat awaits readers at the end of this issue . . .
PACKAGE: . . . in the sneak preview art pages for future issues of Fist of Justice. Penciled by Pow Rodrix (Does he expect us to think that's his real name?), these pages pack quite a punch and offer a fun behind-the-scenes look at the development of a comic book. Another supplemental page depicting the Fist of Justice prototype action figure by Shocker Toys and some Digital Webbing gags rounds out an excellent introduction to the company, their artistic vision of the comics genre, and their marketing strategy as a business.
DO I WANT MORE? Yes! I know now that Fist of Justice is a few issues deep, but I plan on picking up #2 at my local shop the next time I visit, to see what kind of momentum the story and the company have attained since this first effort. Of course, both the character and the company have been around quite a while, but Free Comic Book Day offers a great chance for new readers to feel like they're joining something from the beginning. In this case, since the title character is a fish out of water in the 21st century, the feeling is thankfully mutual.