When it comes to superhero comics, you ain’t got a thing if you ain’t got that
swing Shared Universe. Wanna see the foundation upon which Continuity Comics was formed? Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of The Revengers Featuring Megalith #1 awaits!
THE REVENGERS FEATURING MEGALITH #1
Writer: Neal Adams
Penciler: Neal Adams
Inker: Neal Adams
Colorist: Cory Adams
Editor: Kristine Adams
Publisher: Continuity Comics
Cover Price: $2.00
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $2.00
Previously in The Revengers Featuring Megalith: By 1971, Neal Adams was one of the biggest names in comic books. His art-style (realistic, derived from his career in movie posters and advertising) had brought about a sea change in comic book art, he was The Guy for awesome covers (the way John Byrne would be in the 80s, and the late Michael Turner was in more recent years) and his work had revitalized the mighty Batman. When he founded Continuity Associates (with Dick Giordano) in ’71, it was to create movie storyboards, but eventually the studio expanded to provide packaged art for comic book publishers like Charlton and Marvel Comics. The independent boom of the 1980s brought about a new era for C.A., launching Continuity Comics, using Neal’s own artwork as official house style. The Revengers Featuring Megalith isn’t the first of Continuity’s comic output, but it’s definitely one of the books that set the tone for the whole schmageggi.
We begin with fists hammering against a concrete wall, repeated hammering, until…
…the wall busts wide open, revealing the hero of our story! Also, for some reason, his logo, but that actually looks cool (and is the least of the issues we’ll run into as we go.) Stomping into the light, looking for all the world like a more musclebound Superman, Joe Majurac’s musing on freedom are interrupted by what seems to be the German army. When told that he shouldn’t cause any trouble, Joe replies, “I… guess I will give you trouble, Friedrich!”
Please be aware that snappy dialogue is never the selling point of a Continuity Comic.
Anyways, combat ensues!
If smashing his way out of the concrete walls of his prison didn’t clue you in, Joe Majurac gives a graphic demonstration of his more-then-human nature. How does one guy, even one ripped like Dave Batista, fight off the cast of ‘Hogan’s Heroes?’
LEVERAGE! Or something. Anyway, he rips up a telephone pole with his bare hands, uses it to overturn the halftrack, thus spooking the German soldiers from engaging him. Now, as for that pesky helicopter?
Give that pilot credit for keeping his craft aloft with a sudden addition of 350 pounds of muscle-head, all on one side, though. Making his way across the countryside, Joe hooks up with the U.S. consulate, and catches a flight back to America, worried that his parents are in danger, for reasons the story hasn’t yet told us. On the flight, he reminisces about his origins, and how he got inspiration for his workouts from stories of myth…
Growing up on a farm was tough, and Joe Majurac, Sr. nearly lost the homestead before a mysterious man named “Karl” stepped in with a loan and an offer: Joe, Jr. would come train with his people for The Olympics, and their troubles would be over. Living in a castle, in a strange land, paid to train all day is a dream come true for young Joe…
They even give him a puppy!
Mark my words, Faithful Spoilerites. Even before I read this issue, I knew that dog was DOOMED with a capital Victor Von, as doomed as if he were on the cover of a children’s books with a Newbery Medal. As his training proceeds, Joe becomes troubled by the emphasis on learning Russian and German, as well as the fact that no one really talks to him, but the final blow comes when he receives a letter from home with blacked out portions. He demands to leave, to be allowed to check on his family, when the other (caninally fatal) shoe drops.
The fact that they LITERALLY brought in a dog just so the surly German fellow could kill it on-panel is the final nail in the coffin of Joe’s happy innocence (also subtlety), and Joe Majurac directed all his efforts into his physical training until he achieved a goal no one thought attainable…
…the Mind/Body Link! In a lot of ways, it’s the same pseudo-scientific claptrap as Peter Cannon’s powers in Charlton Comics’ ‘Thunderbolt’ comics in the 60s, but with the added benefit of quasi-psionic abilities as well. He can even see the future (which he uses to play the stock market, somehow) until his captors tried to sell him to the highest bidder, leading to the concrete-smashing at the beginning of the issue. Catching another helicopter back to his family farm (and somehow inexplicably gaining a superhero uniform), Joe Majurac leaps into action (because “action” is pretty much all this book has in terms of story beats.)
Joe’s performance is amazing, kicking down doors, bashing in faces, even catching bullets in his bare hands. But all seems lost when he catches a hail of bullets (literally THREE automatic rifles firing right into the target on his chest, supporting Batman’s complaint in ‘The Dark Knight Returns’) and falls to his knees. Is this the tragic end of Megalith?
Ersatz Tony Stark really needs to calm down. With “The hero dying terribly” no longer on the table (and remember, this is the man who brought you Skateman, so it was probably one of the options), the local authorities arrive and…
Uh… something… happens?
There’s literally no explanation of what happens to the bad guys after they shoot Megalith down, not even a “Poochie died on the way to his home planet.” They’re just gone, and Joe gets some first aid and some very bad news.
After a good slapinnaface, our hero responds the only way a hero can…
…by shouting into the empty heavens, with everyone around him suddenly gone. Then, he…
…actually, that’s it. That’s the whole story.
It is NOT, however, the whole issue, as there is a six-page backup starring probably the most-offensive superhero to come out of the 1980s, bar none…
…Crazyman, whose power is literally mental illness. Because of his truly offensive nature, I don’t and won’t read Crazyman stories, but I figure this one also features the textbook Continuity ‘cavalcade of flashbacks with lots of montages’ and a non-ending as well. Though I’ve always had a soft spot for Continuity Comics (their house ads, f’rinstance, are lunatic brilliance, slam poetry written by a drunken madman) and Megalith in particular, but this issue is not his strongest outing. Indeed, it’s not until he gets his own book (as the title suggests, this one is designed to be the first chapter of a superhero team book also featuring Armor and the Silver Streak, though the story of that team has never been completely (or competently) told. As with most C.C. titles, this book’s selling point is in the art, phenomenal work by the man himself, unlike their books later in the 80s, where Clarke Hawbaker and Mike Deodato would do their best Adams pastiche. The coloring is a garish mess, though, and both dialogue and story are inconsistent and nigh-incoherent, leaving The Revengers Featuring Megalith #1 with a confused and disappointed 2 out of 5 stars overall. I love the platonic ideal of Continuity Comics dearly, but in this case, the actual execution is disappointing. Beautiful, but disappointing…