Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Human Bomb #1 Review!

Cover of Human Bomb #1.
Art by Jerry Ordway.
I enjoyed this issue a whole lot more than the bulk of  the Phantom Lady series. Even a tad more than The Ray, but we'll have to ride it out to see how it progresses. As it stands, this issue moves at a clip, getting introductions underway and moving right into the action. Perhaps things are getting more exciting now because some threads from the three series are coming together. Uncle Sam, who debuted at the end of The Ray, is already central to the current story.

Jerry Ordway provides full (and beautiful) art for the cover and interiors. No doubt this influences my impression of the book. But hey: comics are a visual medium and the quality of the art is going to affect the reader's impression, no?

The new Human Bomb's story begins three years ago in Afghanistan, where Sgt. Michael Taylor's troop of five Marines was ambushed not by Taliban, but by men in black body suits and gas masks. The men were shocked unconscious, and he apparently did not remember the incident afterwards.

Today, Michael Taylor awakes from a dream where he receives the Medal of Honor. Just then, his body ignites and he destroys the White House. In reality, Taylor is a construction worker in New York City, on a project at the site of the World Trade Center. Among his coworkers, he's a hero, a publicly recognized figure known for his accomplishments against Al-Qaeda. In fact, he is due to soon meet the President to receive his honor.

Just then, a series of bombs goes off around the city—killing the mayor—and the crew realize that their site might be next. Reports are of human bombs causing the devastation. As they clear the construction site, Mike runs into a Marine buddy, Smitty, who happens to be another of these bombs. Instinctively, Mike subdues Smitty. When he begins to detonate, he says "remember the C.R.O.W.N.," and a fierce kind of energy leaps from him and into Taylor.

Michael Taylor access his powers for the first time.

Another man in black watches all of this, calling them "Human Bomb Twenty-Three" and "Seventeen" (Taylor), noting that Taylor is an abnormality. He accosts Mike uttering the word "diffuse!" which has no effect except to set off another smaller charge. This man is called Human Bomb Fifty and is told by his masters that failure is unacceptable, for which he commits suicide.

Human Bombs #50 and #17 square off.

At S.H.A.D.E. (Super Human Advanced Defense Executive, an organization that played heavily into Palmiotti and Gray's Freedom Fighters) in Washington DC, Uncle Sam's people are monitoring everything. CROWN is an acronym for several terror organizations: Capricorn, Renegade, Orbital, Warriors, and Nezbali. Uncle Sam orders all efforts to focus on finding Michael Taylor.  His boss, Mr. Doyle.

Uncle Sam's aide is named Joan. Could this be a nod to the former Miss America, Joan Dale? The love interest in the original "Human Bomb" strip was named Jean (her last name varied).

Joan and Uncle Sam at S.H.A.D.E.

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