Or – “What Happens When People Stop Being Polite, And Start Bludgeoning Things.”


Well, folks…  It’s official.  I have reached the bottom of the review pile, and thus our “Two A Days” have ended (at least until I get snowed under again, or happen to be bored.)  With luck, we can now get books up in a more timely manner, fingers crossed.  I hope I haven’t inundated you with so much recappiness that you’ve returned to googling “Hot Russian Women In Leather Panties” (see how many hits THAT nets us!) or, perish forbid, playing Kitten Cannon.  In either case, we’re back with a look at the title that proves super-powers are may be thicker than water, but some people are just plain thick…  Ba DUMP bum.

D51.jpgSpeaking of bums, that’s team ‘strongman’ Scrap up there, channeling her inner Black Widow.  Dynamo 5 are a team of teenage superheroes gathered by Maddie Warner, the widow and ‘Lois Lane’ of Superman-esque hero Captain Dynamo.  When the good Captain was murdered (naked in a hotel room, presumably after attempting a tryst with his female assassin), she found his “little black book” and he’s Fonzie’d his way across the world, leaving a few sown oats behind.  These oats have grown in the form of Scrap (super-strength, duh) and her half-siblings Slingshot (flight powers), Visionary (laser, x-ray & microscopic vision), Myriad (shapeshifting) and Scatterbrain (telepathy).  Maddie has gathered the illegitimate little dynamos, and is forging them together into a strong team to defend Tower City and the world against Captain Dynamo’s worst foes.  The best part is?  No obligatory team romance!  Yay!

Since she gets the cover (and also my title pic), it probably won’t surprise you to know that this issue has a lot of Scrap.  The attractive gothy girl with the big muscles is an archetype I haven’t seen in comics (at least not that I can recall) and she gets a couple of big character moments, as well.  Case in point: the first image of the issue, which sets up not only her brawn, but her acid tongue as well.


I suspect that Scrap will be this team’s ‘Wolverine,’ as she’s already my favorite (though how much of that is due to her being in the spotlight this issue is unclear.)  The creature she’s facing down is a reptilian monster (think a cross between Curt Connors’ Lizard and Bruce Banner’s Hulk) called Whiptail, one of Daddy’s toughest foes.  She gets in her shots, but Whiptail overpowers her until a laser blast from Visionary (whose helmet is old-school awesome) takes him down.  Whiptail gets away, and some time later, Maddie is not thrilled with their progress.


Slingshot quickly figures out the obvious: if the old Whiptail is in the nursing home, then there’s a new Whiptail who somehow got their hands on his serum and is running around as a super-powered lizardman.  This may, indeed, be a bad thing, hmm?  As for the rest of the team, they’re wiped, especially Scatterbrain, out cold and snoring on the briefing table.  Maddie is even less pleased with this particular development…


Scrap steps in to defend her brother, pointing out that Maggie didn’t ASK them to join, she actually drafted them into her personal war on crime.  Myriad takes his first initiative to point out that, since all the attacks are happening at night, they should be able to take some time to regroup and rest, before tracking Whiptail again.  It’s a remarkably smart assessment, and makes me wonder what’s going on inside the shapeshifter’s head.  Slingshot talks to Maddie on her way out, telling her how “this tactic of yours is pretty smart, you know?”  Maddie denies knowing what she’s talking about, but Slingshot points out that she’s playing the power-hungry biotch, which will cause the team to bond (even if only AGAINST her) and create the teamwork she wants.  Maddie once again says she’s off the mark, but smiles knowingly as Slingshot leaves.  The next morning, she’s visited by her ex-partner from FLAG (think SHIELD, only with less Iron Man) and his new partner Nicole, who want to know what’s up with Whiptail and these mysterious kids who fought him…


Maddie seems to be playing both sides against the middle, and that will always come back and bite you in the butt, if you’re not very careful.  Later that day, she visits Mr. Dempsey in the retirement home, taking along only Myriad and Scatterbrain.  Though he can’t answer her questions due to his senility, Maddie isn’t convinced yet.  Scatterbrain’s telepathy can’t make sense of his mind, but he doesn’t know whether it’s because the man is really totally addled, or because he’s so inexperienced with his power.  With Plan A out the window, Maddie cues up Plan B, and a cold-hearted plan it is.


The team splits up, Slingshot and Myriad watching Dempsey’s son, while Myriad laments the loss of a Friday night to something as dumb as a stakeout.  “Usually I’m out with a lady…  You’re cute, and all…  But you’re my half-sister, so… eeww.”  Heh.  Slingshot tells him that Maddie’s plan is a good one (“I don’t think she’s got our suits bugged, you don’t have to keep sucking up.”), and voices her admiration for Maddie and her writing.  Myriad just takes a nap.  Team two (Scatterbrain and Visionary) are in place watching Whiptail’s daughter…  maybe watching her a bit TOO closely?


Frat boy or not, Scatterbrain is a pretty good kid, and seems like he’d be one of those fun big brothers who’d get you arrested.  And see what I mean about Visionary’s helmet?  It almost makes up for the unfortunate decision to give him short sleeves…  Team Three (Maddie and Scrap) surveil the old man himself, but it’s pretty obvious that Dempsey’s dementia isn’t just an act.  The boredom of their stakeout allows her to talk a bit with Scrap, and giving us (yet another) interesting look at Bridget/Scrap’s character…


Bridget doesn’t have a snappy comeback for that, but before it gets TOO awkward (wicked stepmothers with super-powered daughters might do well to watch themselves), Visionary calls in with the sighting.  But the daughter is still half-nekkid (presumably), so Maddie was wrong.  Whiptail is someone entirely different.  The team leaps into action, Visionary peppering Whiptail with laser vision, then Slingshot rushing in.  Flying might frickin’ fast, she creates a cyclone that pulls the air away from the lizard, and staggers it.  Then, Scrap grabs a police-car to use for the piece de resistance.


Why, it’s Nicole Nakamura, soon-to-be-ex Agent of FLAG!  Didn’t see that comin’ didja?  It seems that power corrupts, and reptilian power corrupts… um…  reptilicusly?  I dunno, let’s just move on.  Augie makes sure that he confiscates the Whiptail formula, but the tech he gives it to turns out to be Myriad, who gives the sample to Maddie.  She seems pleased with this, but I’m not sure why, nor am I comfortable with this development.  I wonder exactly what’s up her sleeve.  After all, she’s both a spy AND a journalist, she probably hasn’t told the truth since 1978.

This is a fun book, a real thrill ride, and Faerber makes all the characters sing.  You think you’ve got them figured out (expecting the Jock to mock the virgin Nerd, f’rinstance) but then he gives you something extra.  Slingshot’s quick-wittedness and the brashness of Scrap (still hate that name, though) are awesome, and Mahmud Asrar’s art is very cool.  I can see him going places in comics, as he does excellent fight scenes, good faces, he can draw a person in street clothes, and also makes using a car as a bludgeon look completely plausible.  All told, we’re looking at a very solid package, easily making 4 stars out of 5.  This title surprised me, and pleasantly so, and you might want to check it out if you get the chance…


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. April 27, 2007 at 3:42 pm — Reply

    Heh. Poor Miss Nakamura…remember Kids, with Great Power, comes great…uh…Reptileablitlity, as Killer Croc, The Lizard, and Kmodo will all tell you.

  2. April 29, 2007 at 5:17 am — Reply

    Plus, yes, I do love Visionary’s helmet…almost a ‘What If Someone Put Some Thought Into The Design of The Vision?’.

    Scatterbrain is sort of the nicer version of Flash Thompson…

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