Or – “Five Ways Father’s Day Can Really Suck…”

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Growing up, my family never paid much attention to Mother’s or Father’s Day.  I’m not sure if that’s because it was the 70’s and they weren’t full-on commercial juggernauts yet, or if we just didn’t much care…  Either way, the various children of Captain Dynamo are about the celebrate their first Father’s Day since the reveal of their true parentage, and I predict that they’ll all have a fine time with nary a hitch. However, it should be noted that I predicted that Civil War would end with Captain Ultra and the 3-D Man joining the Avengers, so there’s a chance my prognostications are less than perfect…

D51.jpgPreviously, on Dynamo 5:  The hero of Tower City had groupies out the wazoo, and being only (super) human, Captain Dynamo took advantage of the perks here are there.  Years later, after his death, his widow found that some of these children had grown to maturity, and that they had the genetics necessary to duplicate his transformation.  Though each had only some of the powers, they’ve banded together to protect Tower City from their erstwhile father’s villains.  Slingshot, Scrap, Visionary, Scatterbrain, and Myriad handled several menaces, before being surprised by the fact that Daddy (or someone very much like him) is still alive and kicking.  This issue kicks off with various agents of F.L.A.G. (a SHIELD like organization) meeting to discuss the return of Captain Dynamo.  The unctuous young smart guy running the meeting shows one piece of footage 20 years old and another from yesterday, asking what they notice about the films…

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Augie grudgingly backs down, and his “superior” orders him to work on the logs while the younger agents hit the streets.  While the whippersnapper may have a point scientifically, it’s pretty obvious to those of us with more information that Augie is probably in the right.  Another person who knows that the return is bogus is Maddie Warner, a woman whose Pulitzer Prizes should tell you a little something about her bull$#!+ detector.  Maddie returns from shopping, and sees the headline declaring the return of her former husband.  With the shock of finding out her beloved was a womanizer still fresh, she seems unable to keep her pain to herself.

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The woman is all “Whatever, crazy lady with the butch haircut” and starts to grab for her daughter’s hand, but the little girl has wandered out into the street.  They’re both horrified to see a full-size cargo truck bearing down on the poor child, but too far away to respond.  Suddenly, faster than a crossbow bolt, more powerful than a subway train, able to leap large puddles in several bounds… it’s CAPTAAAAAAIN DYYYYNAMOOOOOO!

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Maddie is absolutely floored by how realistic this impersonator is, and when she regathers herself, she calls Bridget (secretly Scrap, the team brawler) to talk to SOMEONE.  “Whoever it is that’s masquerading as my husband.  He…  he just saved someone right in front of me.  I…  Bridget, you told me about him, but I didn’t…  I had no idea he…  he looked so REAL.”  Bridget is concerned, asking if Maddie wants her to come over so they can talk, but she begs off.  Maddie isn’t sure what’s going on, but part of her is heartbroken that this may BE her husband, but he didn’t contact HER upon his return.  Once she hangs up, Bridget returns to her afternoon with her dad (who left her mother last issue.)  They decide to go to the beach (or rather, Dad decides, and Bridge agrees)and she asks if he’s talked to her mom yet…

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Before we hear from Dad what has seemingly ended his marriage, we cut to Gage (Scatterbrain) at a family get-together for HIS dad.  It’s obvious that he’s physically larger than either parent or his two brothers, and his gift reveals that he his power of telepathy is pretty ironic, as this kid has never had a single clue what goes on in other people’s heads.

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Wow.  That was pretty harsh, though in the brother’s defense, he THOUGHT it, rather than cruelly coming out and saying it.  From that awkward Dad’s day moment, we cut to Olivia (Slingshot) flying into Washington DC to meet up with her father.  She apologizes for being late, and he says she isn’t.  Olivia responds with a very Type A “Well, I meant to be here ten minutes ago.”  Heh.  She starts to makes him a Father’s Day meal, when his phone rings, and his face goes dark. 

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Slingshot is slowly-but-surely moving up on Scrap in the “characters I think are most adorable in Dynamo 5” competition.  Her father responds that it was just a wrong number, but they’re both aware that it’s a lie.  As for Hector (Visionary) he is getting ready to go to dinner with his mother.  He gets distracted by a window display, and she interrupts his reverie.  “You thinking about your dad?  It’s okay if you are.”  He tells her the truth, that he thinks about his paternity when the day rolls around, but seldom at any other time.  Their relationship seems pretty honest, as Mom reminds him that his father was just some guy who got her pregnant, and he’s glad that she’s honest about it.  Hector bails on dinner plans, instead going to visit the grave of William Warner, the father he never knew.  Within a short time, he is joined by Scatterbrain and Myriad, both of whom have had a terrible day as well.  Myriad consoles him that at least Hector still has his mom, and Gage talks about his frustrations.  “What if I WAS adopted?  So what?  I mean, what’s it matter to him?  Our dad still raised me just like he raised them”  He wishes he could fly, and as if on cue, Olivia arrives with her own tale of woe.  Gage offers to read her dad’s mind, but she’s not ready to jump to invading privacy just yet…

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Scrap tells them all about her dad leaving her mom, but it turns out they are divorcing not because she was unfaithful (which everyone but Daddy knows she was) but because they just don’t care anymore.  “It’s the most pathetic break-up I’ve ever seen,” says Bridget, and her newfound siblings collaborate.  They decide they should spend time together WITHOUT being in tights and fighting for their lives, as we pull back to see Maddie watching them from a distance, her motives still unclear.  As for the pseudo-Dynamo, we see him flying to his seeming home, and find out that something more sinister than we thought is happening…

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This mysterious femme fatale is Chrysalis, and in the case behind her is her eponymous armor.  She is another of the good Captain’s myriad foes, and I’m wondering if this new Dynamo isn’t possibly ANOTHER of his various illegitimate children, this one by an old foe?  This ought to be interesting.

Jay Faerber’s other title, Noble Causes, is designed to be a super-hero soap opera, and some of the plotting here shows that, though not in a bad way.  Everyone, even Scrap’s totally average fiftyish Dad has their own secrets, their own rich inner life, and even the most minor character (like the woman with the newspaper who lost track of her daughter) feels real.  Mahmud Asrar’s art continues to get better with every issue, with a stylized edge but a solid sense of anatomy and detail.  His women are very striking, and the transformation sequences impress the heck out of me…  I’m loving Dynamo 5, and issue #4 rates an impressive 4 out of 5 stars from me.  If you’re not reading this, why not?

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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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3 Comments

  1. Brent F.
    June 17, 2007 at 9:49 pm — Reply

    I enjoy this series as well, but holy hell is Captain Dynamo’s costume is horrible.

  2. June 17, 2007 at 11:03 pm — Reply

    Oh, yes. It’s not just awful… it’s GAWDAWFUL.

  3. Brent F.
    June 17, 2007 at 11:12 pm — Reply

    If I were to make a list of the top 10 most horrible costumes, Captain Dynamo’s would be the only non-Legionaire suit on the list.

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