15th Dec2017

‘Fighting American #3′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Gordon Rennie | Art by Duke Mighten, PC De La Fuente | Published by Titan Comics

Fighting_American_3_Cover-A

If I had to pick a book to be the surprise package of the year, it could very well be this one. Fighting American as a book has always struggled, as creators have often fallen between two stalls. Originally intended as a parody of Captain America, by Cap’s own creators no less, some writers have double downed on the parody element and turned the book into a comedy. Other writers have then tried the polar opposite approach, to treat the character and source material as seriously as possible, and make Fighting American just another patriotic hero. This book has taken the road less travelled, the middle road, and so far it has worked out just fine. Great, even.

I won’t recap too much, that’s for commie stooges after all, but all you need to know is that Fighting American and sidekick Speedboy,  crime fighters from the 1950′s, have been stranded in the present day as they try to locate and take back Poison Ivan, a villain from that period. They are having issues adjusting to the times, and also working with a female FBI Agent who bizarrely to them isn’t a secretary. They are also having to start dealing with Chaos Lad and Madam Chaos, two very dangerous, and one very psychotic, villains.

Speaking of psychotic villains, Chaos Lad is back in 1954, courtesy of the time machine he has access to after murdering his scientist uncle. He’s recruiting the communist villains to come to the future and wreak havoc. As he explains to them, he has seen the future, and they haven’t won, but if they go to the future they have another shot. I think they’ll go. Back to the future, heh, Agent Rutherford is talking with Fighting American and Speedboy, in their civvies though, about their crime fighting past. It’s certainly colourful, as we well know. Speedboy is having trouble staying focused however, as women’s dress sense is a tad more liberal these days. Ok, he’s literally drooling.

Meanwhile, Chaos Lad has started the plan. Rimsky and Korsakoff are dropped off in 1968, Rhode Island Red in 1973, Gnortz and Bohitz in 1984. Each drop off is greeted by their comrades who have lived the intervening years in those eras. Finally, in 2010, the Communist boss Hotski Trotski arrives, straight from 1954. The bad news for him, is that his former colleagues no longer share his 1950′s values, and he is swiftly got rid of. We also learn that Madame Chaos is in fact the future version of Chaos Lad, after a little gender-bending. Rennie is just having far too much fun with all this. Page 16 is just ridiculously funny as well. Anytime you can get cleavage on a page, and the words dumplings and bazookas used but not related to said cleavage, you deserve some sort of award. Like I said, too much fun.

The sequence from Page 16 onwards again defines why this book is so good. We have some slightly bawdy comedy, then Fighting American takes on and defeats Rimsky and Korsakoff in some great action panels. And, rather like Tony Stark at the end of the first Iron Man movie, when the crowds and reporters arrive and Agent Rutherford wants them to slip away, Fighting American instead reveals himself to all. The modern worlds needs a good old fashioned good guy he reasons, to remind everyone of what good values and behaviour should be. He probably should have left out the bit about his brain in his dead brother’s body though. Too soon.

That read was just too good. I laughed, I cried (with laughter), I read it all again. Just fantastic stuff, with Gordon Rennie pitching a perfect innings script wise. A great blend of humour and drama, with just the right balance between the two. We don’t laugh at Fighting American, we laugh with him, caught as he is in a situation not of his choosing. And we are reminded the guy is a pretty great hero too. No agenda, just does the right thing. Thing we all need a bit of that. Duke Mighten’s art is as stylish and perfect for this material as it’s been all along, though he doesn’t manage to do all the issue, PC De La Fuente pitching in on the last few pages probably for the book to make deadline. He matches Mighten’s style very well though.

Gordon Rennie has shown how you write the perfect Fighting American book. Not just parody, not just serious, but a balanced mixture of the two. What you end up with is one of the best books on the shelves right now.

***** 5/5

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