Thursday, November 24, 2005

REVIEWING: "America's Best Comics"/Part: One"

Terra Obscura Volume One (a six-issue limited series published by America's Best Comics. Co-Plotted by Alan Moore & Peter Hogan; Script by Peter Hogan; Art by Vanick Paquette & Karl Story. Colors by Jeremy Cox; Lettering by Todd Klein; Kaisty Quinn: Assistant Editor; Ben Abernathy: Editor. Published monthly from August, 2003 - February, 2004.)

Being a fan of about anything Alan Moore is involved in, naturally I knew I was going to enjoy this series, and I was right. The characters are a combination of pseudo-nostalgic heroes combined with aspects as the Golden-Silver-and Modern Age. Rather than being called super heroes, they are described as science heroes, and the main players in this storyline are supposed to be from a ultra-powered team which originally formed in the 1940's, but were put in suspended animation by an alien force for thirty years.

The main location of this tale is in a city named "Invertica", which is controled, so to speak, by an organization called "Terror" to keep it free from all major crime. During the course of this story we discover that a force of sorts is focused from The Grand Canyon, causing anything with electrical current to stop working. Several of these science heroes reorganize to seek out what is causing this. Along the way, some of the "old" heroes die, some are badly injured, and others go through both mental and metaphysical changes.

We see characters which would perhaps remind us of variations of Captain America, or The Spectre, The Phantom Stranger, or The Fighting Yank, with an good proportion of female heroines (one of which is a hybrid version of "Madamn Xanadu"/"Gypsy") to male heroes.

There's aspects of all kinds which makes a good story here: humor and romance, action and adventure, and in the end, all loose threads that may have been hinted upon in previous issues are tied up quite nicely to a satisfying conclussion.

The series is an easy-read with great visuals, and although not up-written to, say, some of the Vertigo series, still retains an adult standard while retaining all the fun aspects that make super-hero comic books fun!

I highly recommend this series, and give it an A+!

POST SCRIPT TO TODAY'S BLOG: There were some parts of this storyline which I was a little confused about, not being thoroughly familiar with the titles produced by this comic book company and reading this series cold, so, to be fair, I RE-read this entire six issues. With the second reading, there's a couple points here that made more sense. For one thing, the reason specific characters will remind you of ones from The Golden Age, is because the are! "The Fighting Yank" is indeed the old Standard Comics' hero from the 1940's and the current Yank is his daughter. Originally this character was aided by the spirit of his revolutionary ancestor. Now, being dead and in spirit form, he aids his daughter in a similiar way. And, I mentioned "The Terror", which is really, The Black Terror, who has died and come back as a disembodied form, his spirit essence now confined to a computer. The human who "manages" his affairs is his old GA sickkick, now grown up. And I suspect that other heroes and heroines in this series are either GA characters, or new versions of such as well (not being an expert on all of the Standard characters from that time period). But even without this beforehand knowledge, the series still stands on its own very well and I'm sure that anyone that's never been exposed to these characters before, will still be able to quite enjoy it.


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