07th Nov2017

‘Fighting American #2′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Gordon Rennie | Art by Duke Mighten | Published by Titan Comics

Fighting_American_2_Cover-A

Smell that? That’s fresh air. That huge waft of it you detected last month came exclusively from this book. Although I love my Time Lords and their timey-wimey stuff, and Assassins with their Creed, it’s always a pleasure when something appears out of the blue and is different, yet brilliant. Sort of a Stranger Things in a comic book. Fighting American as a character and concept has been around since the 1950′s, created by industry legends Joe Simon and Jack Kirby to be a slight dig at Marvel Comics and their use of Simon and Kirby’s more famous creation. Captain America. Last issue Gordon Rennie did a fine job of both channeling that absurdity, and adding a few more contemporary wrinkles of his own. It was fun.

What was fun I hear you Johnny-come-lately’s ask? Well, Fighting American and partner Speedboy have been catapulted from their 1950′s era to their future, our present, in search of arch-villain Poison Ivan. They thought it a temporary thing, and friend Professor Dyle Twister would pull them back once they had captured Ivan. However, two new villains have appeared in the present, Madam Chaos and Chaos Lad, and revealed it was all a trap. Oh, and implicated our dynamic duo in the murder of Professor Twister. If you have trouble digesting all that, imagine what is going through the minds of the police officers who are questioning Fighting American and Speedboy as we check back in.

Fair to say the police officers aren’t convinced, and American is getting a tad annoyed at their ‘beatnik’ sense of humour. Luckily, that’s just when Special Agent Lydia Rutherford of the FBI turns up and takes them away. Brushing over the embarrassing fact that American thinks she is a secretary, 1950′s attitudes and all that, he is saddened to learn his FBI contact, Agent Bill, died way back in 1972, and was not quite the proud family man he once was. Clearly, there is going to be some adapting to do. As Poison Ivan is also finding out, the Communist villain finding himself surrounded by ‘bourgeois frivolities’ such as Biscotti biscuits, and Madame Chaos and her ‘socialism with benefits’.

Putting aside that so far Gordon Rennie has pretty much made me laugh on every page, he uses a clever little technique to give us background and origin stuff on both Fighting American and Poison Ivan, as they recount their stories to Agent Rutherford and Madame Chaos respectively. Equally blinkered by their hatred, of communism and capitalism respectively, and oblivious of the irony of looking around them in the present to see that neither set of values won. Humorous and serious at the same time. Nice touch. A quick trip to liberate Speedboy from the juvenile holding facility he is being kept in and, once he also gets over the novelty of a female special agent as well, and the hunt for Ivan can continue. Only, judging by the cross-time plan being slowly revealed by Madame Chaos and Chaos Lad, worse things are coming. Much worse. Yikes.

Perfect. I read this through twice, and laughed out loud several times both times. Gordon Rennie here writes the perfect script, marrying humour and action with just fantastic dialogue and character work. This is the love child of the Sixties Batman TV show, and the so bad it’s good 1950′s patriotic Captain America comics. Clichéd characters given a new lease of life, laugh with them or at them, both work equally well. Duke Mighten’s art is just perfect for this escapade, nice retro styling to it, realistic when needed and exaggerated when that’s required to. Great layouts and splashes. A truly perfect creative team having fun and doing certainly amongst their best work anywhere.

Titan could charge double what they are and this book would still be cheap for the price. You won’t be entertained any better than this (well, legally any way).

***** 5/5

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