Let’s get this out of the way up front so there is no confusion later on; I’m a big Josh Howard fan.  I like the man, I like his stories, and I like his artwork.  With that out of the way T-Bird and Throttle #0 arrived this past week, and after months of girls in skirts killing the undead, I’m ready to get into a new storyline, this time with superheroes.

tbirdandthrottle.jpgAs expected, the zero issue is an origin tale, but instead of making this the oh-golly-gosh-gee origin that you find in other comics, this one is a bit of a downer.  Not downer as in a bad story, but downer in that it is full of anguish and disappointment on the part of the hero.

In a nutshell, Captain Maddox returns to his headquarters after a long day of fighting Moon Men, only to discover his daughter is super mad at him for hiding something from his past.  The news comes from his pretty hot partner/superviser/boss Ami, who spills the news that the secrets Maddox/T-Bird has been trying to keep from his daughter appear in the first issue of a new comic book called T-Bird.

Yes, Dear Reader, T-Bird’s origin is a comic within a comic.  While this isn’t a new device, Howard and Otis Frampton pull it off nicely.

While patrolling the space lanes, Maddox and his crew land on the Moon to investigate a crashed meteor, that turns out to be alien technology, only to be attacked by the savage Moon Men.  Maddox is hit, but instead of dying, the alien technology attaches itself to his body, healing his wounds, and empowering him with all sorts of new abilities.

Sadly, the gov’ment keeps Maddox in lockdown for a year, away from his wife and young daughter (Emily), which strains the relationship, and send Mrs. T-Bird into the arms of T-Bird’s best friend Jack.  When Maddox is released, and the affair is discovered, things go badly, and the resulting fight between Maddox and Jack leads to a huge explosion with Mrs. T-Bird and Jack being killed right in front of Maddox’s young daughter.

It’s the affair and how Mrs. T-Bird was killed that has Maddox’s daughter all upset.  While T-Bird promises there are not more secrets between them, it’s the final Dhum-Dhum-DHUMMMM!  moment on the last page that has me looking forward to future issues.

The artwork by Howard once again rocks, but it only fills half the issue.  While Maddox reads the comic within a comic, the art style changes to the work of Otis Frampton.  Frampton’s art is not supposed to be an exact mirror of Howard’s style, but there is enough of a similarity that makes the transition one story to the other easier to follow.

There are several throw away characters introduced in this issue, and even though readers meet Ani and Emily only briefly, I’m looking forward to see how the relationships between these two and Maddox work in a superhero tale outside of the big two, and doesn’t feature a character wearing the company’s logo on his chest.

The previous two series from Howard ended up getting a change in the print run, causing one to end early, and the other with too large a gap between issues that it lost some readers.  I’m hopeful Viper Comics commits to this series in a way that it actually builds readership over time.

T-Bird and Throttle #0 gets 4.5 out of 5 Stars.  If you like Howard’s previous works, you’ll more than likely get a kick out of this one too.



About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


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