19th Jan2018

‘Fighting American #4′ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

Fighting_American_4_CvA

This book has been ridiculously good. Smart, funny, sassy, and all delivered in a fantastically deadpan style. Fighting American and Speedboy are endearing with their naivety and adherence to their outdated moral and heroic code, just as the villains display the worst of human nature in throwing away their so-called values for some good old power and money. Gordon Rennie has clearly had a lot of fun playing with conventional superhero standards, and we’ve had plenty of fun reading it. I doubt this issue will be any different.

The big events of last issue probably boil down to two main things, one I saw coming and one I didn’t. I think we all guessed at some stage the Communist villains from yesteryear would be brought to the future, though the way Rennie did it caught me slightly by surprise. Not as much as the reveal that Chaos Lad and Madame Chaos, with their cross-time scheme, were actually one and the same. Chaos Lad had a little gender reassignment along the way, not sure what Fighting American will make of that. This issue being the inevitable big showdown means two things. A resolution of some sort, and a villain origin. Comics 101.

This being Gordon Rennie, the origin of Chaos Lad/Madame Chaos is told through a call to a radio station by Chaos while the FBI, Fighting American and Speedboy storm the building. You’ll be pleased to hear that murdering now-redundant henchmen is alive and well too. Chaos tells us that she, as young boy Gregory, originally hero-worshipped Fighting American and wanted to be a superhero. Unfortunately her brilliant but abusive inventor uncle made her see the world differently and she became a super villain instead. With the help of all his gadgets of course, which helps, she engineered chaos and conflict down the decades all leading to this. A fight with, and Gordon Rennie needs a raise if he came up with this himself, the Star-Spangled Whammer.

Of course, after a spirited battle, Chaos captures American and Speedboy and ties them up in Professor Twister’s old lab, to reinforce the fact they are trapped in the future. In fact, there is double the gloating as Chaos Lad from the past, and Madame Chaos from the present, both take turns to gloat. That’s a whole load of gloating right there. Turns out Madame Chaos had freely given out to every bad guy who wanted it some of the Professors unused gadgets and toys, all very powerful and dangerous of course. Anyhow, the one thing a good gloat needs is a punch in the face, and Fighting American doesn’t disappoint. Boom time. Madame Chaos is down for the count but, of course, the damage has been done, dozens of villains are out there looking to cause trouble. Who you gonna’ call?

Who knew it was possible to fit so much fun into two dozen pages. Well Gordon Rennie, PC De La Fuente and Duke Mighten obviously, but not I. I loved everything about the issue. The resolution, of sorts, to the first arc. The self-knowing behaviour of Madame Chaos. Speedboy’s realisation that both morals and girls clothing are a lot looser these days. Fighting American’s optimism, or is it delusion. It was all in there, as was the promise of a lot more to come. Rennie delivered yet another perfect script, and PC De La Fuente delivered some great art, seamlessly matching Duke Mighten’s art in previous issues.

There’s not enough fun in the world today, and anything that can make you smile and laugh needs recognition. This book has more fun than you can shake a 1954 time-displaced stick at. Let’s make Fighting American a huge hit, it deserves it.

Joe and Jack would be proud.

***** 5/5

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