04th Jun2018

‘Fighting American: The Ties That Bind #4’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Gordon Rennie | Art by Andie Tong | Published by Titan Comics


Always a bittersweet moment when we reach the final issue of each arc, as we do here with ‘The Ties That Bind’ storyline. It’s been, of course, a lot of fun. So much so, that it got me thinking that Fighting American would be a perfect superhero parody for the younger cinema viewer. Just as us adults have the incredibly funny Deadpool, which deconstructs the genre in a far more adult and profane way (yaaay), Fighting American deconstructs in a gentler, more all-ages friendly way. Hey, at the very least, that’s a kid friendly animation waiting to happen right? But I digress.

The main theme that has run through this arc, anchored by the hilarious dialogue and achingly good natured Fighting American, has been of teamwork. The team of American, Speedboy, and Agent Rutherford has been split up, and each has had to overcome their own trials. American is contending with both his estrangement from Speedboy and the machinations of Double-Header through corrupt FBI agents. Speedboy has been coping with the modern world, notably being duped by Faux News reporter Poison Penny into denouncing American, and Agent Rutherford has survived murder attempts as she uncovers the corruption at the top of the FBI. All these threads have merged nicely to one location, the Faux News TV station.

Penny had lured American here to reunite with Speedboy, which he does, but also to spring on him the fact he has descendants in Chester and Chad Krunckle, through an old affair he had. Bad enough, but of course Nelson’s mind is in dead brother Johnny’s body; Johnny had the affair, not Nelson. As everyone tries to digest this increasingly bizarre situation, Agent Rutherford blasts her way in, revealing to American that Double-Header is behind all this, running both organised crime and the FBI simultaneously. She also blows Poison Penny out of a window accidentally. Oops. How to get that information into the public domain they wonder, standing in a TV studio…

As Agent Rutherford broadcasts live, both the FBI and criminal gangs in their dozens arrive to pull the plug. Time for Fighting American and Speedboy to team up once again, and defend the First Amendment. It’s not even close. Soon, all the corrupt people at the top are in custody, and Double-Header receives a double whammy from Fighting American and Speedboy. Gordon Rennie then leads into the third arc with two interesting little epilogues. Firstly, American has invited Chester and Chad Krunkle to stay with him for awhile. Can’t see that going wrong. The second epilogue reveals that the American military have realised that with Chad Krunckle they have a young blood relative to Fighting American. Time to dust off the Fighting American programme once again.

Another great arc done and dusted. Once again Rennie both wraps up a story that had a beginning and end (the Double-Header takedown), and sets in motion the story that will make up the next arc (replacing Nelson with Chad?). Along the way though we get healthy doses of humour, satire, and action. Funnily enough here the humour actually took second place to the actual friendship , and its importance, between Speedboy and Fighting American, and even with Agent Rutherford, fast becoming the third member of the up to now dynamite duo (titanic threesome? tough trio? maybe not). The humour in this book doesn’t drown out the other aspects, which is nice to see.

So Gordon Rennie delivers another writing masterclass, and Andie Tong delivers perhaps his best art job to date. Panel sizes and placement were spot on, pacing and layouts were perfect, and the line art lovely and clean. Perfect.

Looks like Fighting American and Speedboy aren’t the only dynamite duo in this book.

****½  4.5/5


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