Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Black Terror #1

Dynamite Entertainment has apparently decided to build its line of superhero comics around the characters resurrected in the Project: Superpowers comic.

The characters are all heroes from long ago, who share the distinction of having passed into public domain - which means pretty much anyone can create comics using them. Thus we see character such as The Green Lama, The Death-Defying 'Devil (the original Daredevil), Masquerade, The Fighting Yank and many, many more. (They spend most of this issue posing next to caption boxes with their names on display.)

I picked up the first two issues of the Superpowers series, but lost interest. I have no nostalgia for these characters, and the story just wasn't compelling, so I dropped it. Now Dynamite is spinning the individual heroes off into their own titles.

One of the first is The Black Terror, which stars a character who is a complete enigma. We have no idea how he got his powers, who he is or what he's trying to accomplish - apparently he and his fellow heroes managed to escape some kind of trap that's been holding them for decades, and they now find themselves fighting an army of... I don't know, super-powered zombies or something.

The Black Terror apparently has powers on a par with Superman - he flies into the sky, crashes to Earth and somehow lands in a Pirate museum, where he fights an army of bad guys, never gets a scratch and vows revenge.

It seems the President of the United States (his name is West) is the bad guy, and has imprisoned friends of The Black Terror.

So you have a first issue that's all set-up, virtually no explanation and, to someone who just walked in on the story, it makes no sense. Writer Jim Krueger doesn't give us much to go on here, and little reason to want to come back for more.

The art by Mike Lilly isn't bad at all, but it's very murky - does everyone (except for the Green Lama) have to dress all in black?

Maybe Dynamite makes its money by selling multiple covers to the same comic. But a nice cover doesn't cover up the smell of a poor comic - and that's this one all over.

Grade: D


Peter Wallace said...

I'm glad I didn't pick this one up! I like you dropped the Super Powers miniseries, after having really looked forward to it. But it just made no sense to me and the art bugged me. Too bad. The Alex Ross covers are nice, but yuck!

Chuck said...

Pete, I agree - the covers are great! But the stories inside just don't work for me at all. I do think all comics should have some kind of info for the reader who just walked in (though I'm not crazy about Marvel's full-page recaps). This was a first issue that made no sense at all. A shame, really.