I often find it fun to read what a comics creator considers his or her “dream” project. I recently came across one of those for Josh Howard, probably best known for his Dead@17 comic from Image Comics. Take the jump for the Major Spoilers review of T-Bird & Throttle #2!
Creator: Josh Howard
Published by: How Rad Comics
Cover price: $4.99
SOLICITATION: A disgraced superhero faces a sinister conspiracy as he seeks to revive his crime-fighting career.
A POST-SUPERHEROIC TALE
I found what Mr. Howard said on his Indiegogo page enlightening:
When astronaut Mitchell Maddox discovered a strange alien “engine” on the moon, it transformed him into something more than human. Propelled to the status of “super-hero”, Maddox, calling himself T-BIRD, used his abilities for the good and protection of the people of Centennial City. That is, until the day a terrible tragedy changed everything. T-BIRD & THROTTLE #1 begins 10 years after these events. The story is ultimately about a hero’s fall from grace and his subsequent attempt to rebuild his life and raise a daughter in changing times.
Recently he began working on this 4-issue miniseries, and I found that he was releasing the second book in the group, so I supported it via Indiegogo. I discovered it on Facebook, and I received issue #0, issue #1, and issue #2 recently. He does just about everything in these books, including scripting, art, lettering and coloring. And they’re often longer than normal, with #2 having 56 pages.
I also particularly like that Mr. Howard is a fan of 80s and 90s superhero comics, and the series reflects that.
Often it’s difficult for media stars (and superheroes as well) to come down the other side of being popular and loved. That’s when they’re in the most danger. That’s where we encounter T-Bird. He’s sitting at a comic con, waiting for people to come up and ask for his autograph. There isn’t a lot of demand for it, though, so nobody is in line,waiting.
He’s wisely afraid he’s past his prime, but he is recruited by the mysterious Straker to take on a space mission. Things don’t go according to plan.
The characters are well-developed, with Mitch being used to the limelight and having to do without it. I liked his promoter, Bat, who does his best to keep Mitch grounded, but that just can’t happen. I also liked Mitch’s daughter, Emily. As with many children of famous people, she doesn’t like being known for her father’s abilities.
I was particularly fascinated to find that a comic book featuring an alternate version of Mitch’s life has come out, and it isn’t very flattering. It’s printed by Gruesome Comics, and the big bad that comes along is, oddly enough, named Jack Gruesome! Some connection just has to be going on there!
In this second issue, we learn more about Mitch, including how he got his uniform, how Emily reacts to the unflattering comic, what his former sidekick Throttle is doing (working as a police officer), and various action sequences.
The pacing is quick, and the times when drama is taking place aren’t too slow. The dialogue is strong and propels the story forward very nicely. It’s a very professional comic, and it’s to Mr. Howard’s credit that he wore so many hats and did them superbly.
FULL THROTTLE ART
As I always say, I like to judge art in comics based on two things: 1) Action, and 2) Expressions. In this second volume, the portrayal of action made me wince a time or two. I really liked that! Then the characters’ expressions were genuine and communicated just what they were feeling, such as Emily’s unhappiness about the comic. You could very easily tell each character from the others, too, a real benefit not every comic can manage!
My favorite sequence in the book was when Mitch is at Starlink HQ, and they check him out for his space mission. He gets some unexpected support, and you can just feel the tension in the air. The battle sequence between Mitch and Team Triad was also well portrayed, not to mention the conflict on the moon.
BOTTOM LINE: Superior Storytelling!
When I read these books, I was strongly reminded of The Dark Knight Returns when it came to tone and what happens. It’s definitely a darker story, but hey, that was the 80s and 90s for you!
The back inside cover indicates that the next volume will come out late this year. I imagine we’ll see it first on crowdfunding, so I’ll be keeping track of it there.
To read a review of issue #0 previously presented here on MajorSpoilers, here’s the link.
If you want to sample issue #0 for free, go to this link. If you like what you see, you can buy issue #1 on comiXology here. Josh’s official site can be found at this link. The Indiegogo campaign can be found here.
I must say that I felt for poor Mitch. For a burly superhero used to having things go his way, he’s now in a very different situation and has to deal with the changes and how people look at him differently. I highly recommend this series and again praise Mr. Howard for juggling so many aspects of making this comic happen so well! Superior (I’d say “super,” but DC might get upset)!
T-Bird & Throttle #2
I often find it fun to read what a comics creator considers his or her “dream” project. I recently came across one of those for Josh Howard, probably best known for his Dead@17 comic from Image. Hey, it’s very good!