Or – “Image United, Indeed…”

Dynamo 5’s story is an intriguing one, as five unrelated people discover that each of them has a secret in common:  They all share a real father, and he was one of the premier superheroes of the day.  Captain Dynamo may be dead, but Smasher, Ramjet, Menagerie, Wraith and Supervision are carrying on his legacy, each in his or her own different way.  Of course, this leads to problems as well, since the government doesn’t trust five random kids, and has sent in their OWN super-team to get things done…

Dynamo 5 – Sins Of The Father #4
story JAY FAERBER
art JULIO BRILHA
cover MAHMUD A. ASRAR & RON RILEY
incentive cover CORY WALKER & RON RILEY
colors RON RILEY
letters CHARLES PRITCHETT
publisher IMAGE COMICS

Previously on Dynamo 5 – Sins Of The Father: The Image universe is a very flexible place, and even though Youngblood teamed up with Spawn teamed up with Witchblade teamed up with Invincible teamed up with the Savage Dragon teamed up with Proof, there’s no real guarantee that the various crossovers actually happened on the same Earth.  Even so, several years ago (comics time) an alien invasion led to Captain Dynamo teaming up with Omni-Man (the father of Invincible) and Supreme (Rob Liefeld’s favorite pizza topping) in a friendly rivalry about who REALLY is Earth’s protector.  Years later, the aliens have returned, causing Omni-Man’s son, Captain Dynamo’s five children, the daughter of the heroine called Firebird and the Savage Dragon’s two kids to pick up where the adults left off.  Their results have been mixed at best, leaving the Foundation for Law and Government (F.L.A.G.) to call in their own heroes to pick up the slack…

One of the greatest treats of Dynamo 5 was always the interior art by Mahmud Asrar, who has moved on to a career with the Big Two illustrating Legion of Super-Heroes among other things.  Julio Brilha is handling the art on this miniseries, and he does good work, reminding me a bit of the guy who illustrates ‘The Walking Dead.’  Captain Flagstone and his Primaries arrive and quickly take command of the situation, irking team leader Supervision.  When she tries to explain why the battle is continuiing, Flagstone dismisses her out of hand, snotting that it’s time to “let the grown-ups handle this.”  One hero the Primaries DIDN’T bring is Captain Dynamo himself (or at least someone who looks EXACTLY like him) who punches the aliens ineffectively, and whose secret is a little bit shocking.  Invincible and Malcolm Dragon’s punches are no more successful, and the first really useful attack by the heroes comes when Menagerie turns into a whale (!!) and drops on the bad guy, which I am taking as a total shoutout to us.  (Listen to our podcasts if you really want to see what I mean…)

Dragon’s other kid, Angel, teams up with Smasher (even reminding him that her mom used the code-name first, nice continuity nod) to lay in some damage, but Smasher is suddenly horrified to see his ladyfriend Firebird impaled on a stop sign by the alien.  As his teammates watch, Smasher silently walks up to the alien (who resembles the Night Crawler from a long ago issue of Hulk, later name-shifted by X-Men envy to Dark Crawler) and assesses him for a moment before… teleporting away!  The heroes are shocked to think that he abandoned the battlefield, and as his half-brother rushes his girlfriend to the hospital, only we the reader know where he has gone.  Smasher has teleported away to the laboratory of one Doctor Poole, a professor who has created a suit of powered armor to boost human strength.  He asks what would happen if an already super-strong person wore the enhancing suit, and Poole tells him that such a person would be “the most dangerous person on the planet.”  Smasher’s face is completely expressionless as he replies, “Good.”  The issue is capped off with another chapter of the adventures of Notorius, a mafia capo whose masked identity is a hero who takes down mafia capos.   It’s good, but very short, and I’m not sure I remember all the details of it from last issue.

Overall, Dynamo 5 hasn’t lost much in the way of quality after the exit of one of the co-creators, but the momentum of the story has been somewhat damaged by the long break between the end of the regular series and this mini.  Plot points like the relationship between Firebird and Smasher aren’t terribly clear in this issue (though it is handled as well as it could be) and the characters new names and personas haven’t really had any time to breathe during this mini, as it’s been essentially one big fight scene.  I like the way that all of Image’s legacy heroes are getting their time in the sun here, and I’m especially liking teen Malcolm and Angel Dragon, two characters whom I remember as younger kids from my last run reading Savage Dragon several years ago.  It’s pretty much a thrill ride, but there’s a loss of understanding from moving at such a breakneck pace.  It’s well-drawn, even though I remember and miss the clean work of Asrar, and overall this issue suffers a bit from second-act syndrome, as all the pieces are in play and we’re just waiting for the last issue to wrap it all up with a big ol’ bow.  Still, it’s good stuff, and the characters are likable enough (though I have the advantage of having read the whole original series first) causing Dynamo 5 – Sins of the Father #4 to earn a strong 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m hoping that Firebird doesn’t die next issue, because that would sour the whole experience for me…

Rating: ★★★½☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: What do you think about the “Girlfriend In Peril” sub-plot in this issue?  Sure, it’s an old comic trope dating back to the very beginning of the form, but has it overstayed it’s welcome?  (Please note that the Steve Trevor “Boyfriend In Peril” version is equally overwrought, and this is not about sexism or gender equality, just the trope itself.)

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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2 Comments

  1. Ricco
    September 20, 2010 at 10:08 pm — Reply

    Is Menagerie an Hafling Bard? I missed that ;-)

    “What do you think about the “Girlfriend In Peril” sub-plot in this issue? Sure, it’s an old comic trope dating back to the very beginning of the form, but has it overstayed it’s welcome? (Please note that the Steve Trevor “Boyfriend In Peril” version is equally overwrought, and this is not about sexism or gender equality, just the trope itself.)”

    It’s a very old trope (read any knight myth it has at least 2 or 3) “damsel in distress syndrome” is something I actually like seen in comics from time to time, why? We have super women running around kicking butt and taking names, why not have the opposite too? Do all members of minorities have to be powerful positive role models? No, so when a hero (male or female) suddently becomes a damsel in distress I’m fine with it.

  2. September 21, 2010 at 9:22 am — Reply

    Trope, trope, trope, trope, trope, trope, trope, trope, trope, trope, trope. What a funny word.

    I think the “Girlfriend in peril” trope is fine as long as you endanger just as many males. What I really would like to see is the “Animal in Peril” trope begin.

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