Dynamite Entertainment continues its thrilling series introducing the new generation of villains into the Project Superpowers Universe. Last time, we met Bloodlust, a femme fatal with a thirst for the Green Lama’s blood. This time we meet The Revolutionary, and he’s not exactly waving the flag in support.
At the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, DC, The Revolutionary has arrived. Leaving piles of bodies in his wake, his grim, cigar smoking countenance sits surveying the aftermath of his rampage. As a heavily armed team of special forces bursts in, he simply stands and makes a few smart remarks as they unleash metal jacketed fury against him. This Revolutionary is one bad customer, and he is out to show America the error of its ways.
Elsewhere, the ghostly, cloaked figure of Ben Carter, aka the Fighting Yank, resides in his ancestral home.Â He thinks back on the curse he bears and the legacy that accompanies it. At one time, this was a living man. He was a hero of the first caliber, until he turned on his friends and imprisoned them in Pandora’s Urn.Â Years later, when he realized that he was duped into serving another and that everything was not as it seemed, he gathered his remaining comrades and set bout to unleash the Urn imprisoned heroes onto the world once again. This was all chronicled in the first Project Superpowers series. Now, after the events of that series, he is dead but continuing to fight the good fight with his mystical cloak.
But his spirit is not at rest, even as he continues to redeem himself. The American Spirit, that disembodied flag which literally is the manifestation of America, arrives to tell him of the Revolutionary. He describes the Revolutionary as a new patriot, one who serves the flag, but is at odds with the world around him. The American Spirit tells Carter that he must seek him out, their destinies are tied together.
Meanwhile, the Revolutionary is continuing his rampage through Washington, with the military hot on his heels. As the Fighting Yank arrives, he realizes that his power lend themselves to more of a defensive stance, and sets about to protect the soldiers. He must do something, and when he finally raises his hands against The Revolutionary, it makes him look as himself, and his adversary, in a completely different light.
The overall reception of the Project: Superpowers Universe has been as wide ranging as the opinions on any subject you can pick. Some love the concept, others see it as rehash of the same old tired themes. Personally, I enjoy the concept. While I may not care for some of the updates made to some characters, I think that recycling the old heroes has merit and as long as the story in interesting there is no reason to stop.
And interesting this issue is. Plotted by Alex Ross and Joe Casey, Casey also handles the script duties on this title. His scripting is handled well, and each character has a different “voice”, which is important to the feel of a title. The explanations we get on the new character, The Revolutionary, are not as detailed as we received on Bloodlust last issue, but it seems to fit the character more. The Revolutionary is not exactly your run of the mill bad-boy anarchist, and there are strong hints that he may be more mystical in nature than flesh and blood. I do have a few issues with him as a character, but I’ll address those in a moment. Overall, the writing was well handled. A new character was introduced, and at the same time we set up future conflicts for the protagonist, and tied him to his new antagonist at the same time.
The interior art is beautiful. I have not really seen a Project: Superpowers title that did not have top notch art, and this installation is no exception. Mike Lilly lays out some truly spectacular art for this issue, and I believe that he and Ivan Nunes are a team to watch. Mike Lilly’s layouts and art, as dynamic as they are, seem to come to life when paired with Ivan Nunes’ colors. Favorite panel, the second page plash that shows a seated Revolutionary as he looks over his carnage. There is some irony there, as I was reminded of the Lincoln Memorial, except bloodier. The art is a big selling point on this title. The Alex Ross cover also was stunning, as it hinted at theme of the new overtaking the old. Priceless. As was the two page origin of The Fighting Yank. These origin spreads seem to have become a regular thing in the PS Universe, and I personally enjoy it.
Doug Klauba does some praise worthy work, and every installment is visually stunning.
Now, with all this praise, you would think that I absolutely loved this title. Well, I enjoyed it, I really did. I just had a few problems that tainted that joy. First off, with it being set in Washington at the Federal Reserve, and given the current state of the PS Universe, I would have expected at least one of the President’s superpowers to have made an attempt to stop The Revolutionary. Unless it happened off panel or this title is set at a different time, we never saw it. It just sort of drew me out of the story setting that has been established with the other series. The design of the new character, again Alex Ross, was stunning, and the look was shocking and ghostly. I thought the circle of stars, recalling the original colonies and the flag, was great and the clothing fit the character as well. But, here is my problem with how it was interpreted. The Revolutionary, with his cigar smoking, pale skin, and motorcycle, reminded me of a certain pale skinned, motorcycle-riding, cigar loving bad boy at the another large comic company. With that similarity in mind, did we have to accent it with a speech pattern and dialogue that just scream Czarnian? I just think that a slightly different direction could have been taken and made an even more compelling character. I understand the concept of anarchy and violent revolution, but this was a little bit stereotypical. Maybe this is part of the characters journey, as hinted at by the American Spirit, but it still seems a little much.
As I said, I did enjoy the story as it was presented, but a closer look dampened that enjoyment. I would like to see more of The Revolutionary, and wonder if The Fighting Yank will conscience for the character, but only time will tell. A fun ride that had some faults on closer inspection, I’m going with a 2.5 out of 5 on this one. Maybe time will justify a higher score, but right it is just an average story that hints at the possibilities it could reach.