Friday, October 13, 2006

Satan's Six #1

Satan's Six #1, April 1993, Topps Comics
writers: Jack Kirby & Tony Isabella
pencillers: Jack Kirby & John Cleary
inkers: Terry Austin, Steve Ditko, Frank Miller, Mike Royer, Joe Sinnot, Armando Gil
letterer: Lois Buhalis
colorist: Tom Smith
editor: Jim Salicrup

Friday the 13th. I wanted today's review to be something special. It is. But not in the way I intended.

Simply put, some of this issue is classic Kirby, some of this issue is standard, early '90s fluff, which to me epitomizes the relevance of today's date -- something good gone terribly bad. I haven't done the research, so I don't know if Satan's Six is a concept Kirby didn't get to finish or if he willing subjected his work to this failed experiment, but either way, the book strikes me as schizophrenic and indicative of its era. It overstates its own hype, from the horrible McFarlane inks over the Kirby penciled cover, to the supplemental work that pays "homage" to the King by mocking his alliterative prowess. Remember, this is the criticism that's simply put. I could easily digress.

But I won't. I will confess, Satan's Six features a few characters that I like, and the very premise -- a band of "evil-doers" sent to Earth as agents of Satan that inadvertently save the day -- is a promising one for both serious and comedic subject matter. A few characters offered as slapstick fodder could easily support a few others that delve into the brevity of their spiritual situation. No. Instead, we get sheer ridiculous, beyond the standard Kirby camp. Writer Tony Isabella pads Kirby's story with narrative from the characters' guardian angel, whose muse-like monologue actually identifies the characters as stars of a comic book, belittling their plight completely. Although this idea could be utilized as an interesting plot device (a concept my friend and I are hoping to exploit though one of our K.O. Comix projects), in the context of these anti-heroes, why should I care about the consequences of their actions when they're blatantly dubbed fiction?

This issue is "special" alright. I should've known when I pulled it out of the polymer bag; it was shrink-wrapped with a holo-foil card. Not surprising from a comic by Topps, but surely the proverbial black cat in one's path in terms of a decent read. Bad luck.

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