Or – “Y’Ever Notice Superheroes Get Guns Pointed At ‘Em A Lot?”

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I suppose it’s one of the hazards of the job, like I have to deal with arthritis, writers block, and repeated cuticle injuries from going through my back issues of “Legion of Super-Heroes.”  The problem is, the Dynamo 5 aren’t really used to it yet, having only had papa’s powers for a couple of months now.  With the agents of FLAG massing against them, Chrysalis in the wings, a mysterious Captain Dynamo impersonator at large, and their coordinator Maddie missing, it looks like the sibs are in for a hard time.  Maybe Bobby Brady’s bad luck Tiki passed on to Visionary?

Previously, on Dynamo 5:  Captain Dynamo slept around.  This made a lot of people D51.jpgangry, and probably led to his being murdered in a sleazy hotel room.  Five of his offspring have been gathered by his wife Maddie and exposed to the special radiation that empowered him, to become the superheroes of Tower City, the Dynamo 5.  Unfortunately for Maddie, Cap’s villains are still extant, and the kids successfully took down Whiptail, (a were-lizard) the Veil, (a Hydra-esque underground network of schmucks in suits) Voltage, (I wonder why Cap’s villains all remind me of Spider-villains?) and crossed swords with a confused hero called Quake.  All this got the attention of FLAG, a government agency that somehow seems to monitor superhero activities, and they’d like to have a word with the 5.  Sadly, as with Tony Stark’s personal police force of SHIELD, FLAG has a problem with being overbearing.  Six dozen armed and armored agents have surrounded the 5 teenagers in spandex, apparently ready to kill at the slightest notice, proving once again that overkill isn’t just a river in Egypt…

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Slingshot leaps skyward, dodging a hail of energy beams, and escapes, leaving her brothers and sisters to be taken into custody.  Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the kids, Maddie is in the clutches of Captain Dynamo’s enemy Chrysalis and her mysterious daughter.  “So, tell me, Maddie,” crows the villain.  “Do you see the family resemblance?”  Maddie is taken aback to see that her husband had YET ANOTHER dalliance, this one with a known felon.  Chrysalis explains that their relationship lasted for years, and that she believes that they were in love.  How can she prove it?  She reminds Maddie of the time that Cap no-showed a banquet, abandoning his real wife to what he claimed was an emergency…

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“You know he was going to leave you, right?”  Maddie pauses for a moment, and I can’t tell if she’s hurt or stunned…  Turns out the answer is neither.  She breaks out in a full-bore laugh, and remarks “My husband said he was going to leave me?  And, what?  Marry you?  I wonder how many times he said that to the OTHERS.”  It’s Chrys’ turn to be stunned, as she didn’t realize that Cap had more than one paramour outside his marriage.  With the tables turned, Maddie takes a moment to rub a little salt in her wound…

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Wuh oh.  That can’t be good…  Does anybody else think that Maddie is taking this a little too well?  I suppose having your super-powered husband die and finding that he’s been sleeping around with the majority of the western hemisphere would slow down your shock reflex.  Meanwhile, Slingshot is trying desperately to raise Maddie on the communicators, but only gets and agent of FLAG.  “We’ve confiscated the communication devices your teammates were wearing.  It’s really in your best interests to turn yourself in, Miss.”  Tossing her own communicator, she heads for Maddie’s apartment, only to find Augie Ford waiting for Maddie.  When she asks if he’s a cop, he tells the truth.  “Sort of.  Augie Ford, agent of FLAG.”  With that, Olivia has officially reached her breaking point.

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Can I just say that Mahmud Asrar can REALLY draw?  The kineticism in that punch is more dynamic that a dozen Alex Ross covers with a whole issue of Youngblood tossed in for good measure.  Augie reveals that all they want is some information, and we cut to the team members being interrogated.  Myriad’s interview goes badly, when he tells an agent that he got his powers as “a nasty side effect from banging your wife.”  When he morphs into a dead ringer and taunts that she never knew the difference, the agent smacks him.  As for Visionary, his experience with the police is different than his half-brothers, and his response is as well…

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Go, Hector!  Sadly, the FLAGettes are a couple of cocky jackasses, who feel the need to flaunt their power.  “Poor bastard doesn’t realize we’re living in the post-9/11 world. A world where we can hold anyone with suspected terrorist ties indefinitely.  No charges.  No trial.  No lawyer.”  That agent needs a beating, and I volunteer to hold the bat.  As for Scrap, she has a similar response to Visionary.  Bound with a steel power-draining device, she laughs when they tell her they’ll fingerprint her to get her identity.  “Well, first, I’d love to see you get my fingerprints,” says the girl who throws trucks as though they were frisbees.  “And second, I’ve never been arrested, so my prints aren’t on file anywhere.  Nice try.”  The agents are very stupid here, telling her that they know about the radiation, and the powers that Captain Dynamo had.  She doesn’t let on, but her half-brother Scatterbrain isn’t as subtle.  “Radiation, radiation, radiation!  I’m so sick of hearing about friggin’ radiation!”

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Idiots.  Like my grandpa always said, if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?  As for Slingshot, Augie tells her that he suspects that the new Cap’n Dynamo is a fake, and that he suspects that Maddie may be in faux-Cap’s clutches.  “So, what do we do?” asks Slingshot, and he’s bemused that she trusts him.  “First, we free your friends.”  A few hours and a change of clothes later, Augie and Olivia just waltz into FLAG headquarters.

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Oh, Augie… please tell me you didn’t sell out a hero to impress your Harvard graduate pencil-pushing pinhead boss?  I had thought better of you.  Back in the underground lair of Chrysalis and daughter, Synergy prepares to kill Maddie, grabbing her by the throat and squeezing.  Maddie responds by grabbing a syringe from her pocket and injecting herself with it.  As Maddie transforms, Chrysalis and Synergy are taken aback to see her changing.  Remember that missing sample of Whiptail’s serum?

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I think we’ve found it…  The issue stops there, with the five real superheroes in custody and the one non-superhero about to fight two supervillains.  I have to say, I’m ready to write FLAG off as another fascist government tool (a storytelling device I’m a bit sick of, especially in this post-Initiative world) but I’m hoping that Augie has something up his rumpled sleeve. 

This issue is very well-done, even with no real action or fight scenes.  The tension in the interrogation sequences is excellent, and I really like the varying responses to authority from the D5ers, delineating their varying backgrounds.  Maddie’s confidence even in the face of a super-powered foe speaks volumes for her character and resolve, and I especially love Slingshot and every panel with her in it.  Jay Faerber writes a mean story (I love his work on Noble Causes as well, though the complexity of the plots makes me terrified to try and recap it) and Asrur may be my favorite new artist in years (or at least in a dead heat with Nicola Scott of Birds of Prey.)  Another example of the total package from the D5 team, earning an impressive 4 out of 5 stars.  If you haven’t read Dynamo 5 yet, you’re missing a treat, kids…

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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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6 Comments

  1. jman
    August 14, 2007 at 1:38 pm — Reply

    Hmmm…I see why this book is a regular on ol’ major spoilers…granted I did spoil this issue, but it kinda has that old school “bionic-six” cartoon feel/with a little bit of murder mystery to it…can’t wait for the trade!!

  2. Mark I.
    August 14, 2007 at 1:48 pm — Reply

    Sweet. This series is going fairly well thus far. I like it better than any of the other “teen team” books out there. Too bad that I don’t see any hope of Cynthia deciding to join her newfound brothers and sisters and make it Dynamo 6…if she ever has that kind of profound realization I give her about 10 pages to live.

  3. Baal
    August 14, 2007 at 3:32 pm — Reply

    I never heard of the writer or Noble Causes before picking up D5 on a lark with issue one and I am hooked. This was my favorite book that I bought last week and considering what else was released that I bought that’s quite a compliment from me.

  4. Brent F.
    August 14, 2007 at 8:38 pm — Reply

    I love this book. It’s just so much fun to read.

  5. Marcos
    August 24, 2007 at 3:17 pm — Reply

    Am I the only one who doesn’t like this book? After hearing good things about it, I decided to pick it up and stay with it a few issues, up until now. This book does have a great premise, but it bores me. I guess the biggest turn-off is the art: its a bit stiff and generic. The dimensions and facial expressions are just…off. I guess it just didn’t “grab” me like it did everyone else. Oh well.

  6. August 24, 2007 at 11:52 pm — Reply

    Am I the only one who doesn’t like this book? After hearing good things about it, I decided to pick it up and stay with it a few issues, up until now. This book does have a great premise, but it bores me. I guess the biggest turn-off is the art: its a bit stiff and generic. The dimensions and facial expressions are just…off. I guess it just didn’t “grab” me like it did everyone else. Oh well.

    Art is completely in the eye of the beholder… You don’t have to explain if something doesn’t work for you. I don’t care for Alex Ross, for example, so everybody has different tastes…

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