Crossjack has been ejected from his team and prohibited from wearing his mask or using his powers. Can he unravel the murder of his old enemy with only his wits? (Hint: It’s not looking very likely.) Your Major Spoilers review of Local Man #3 from Image Comics awaits!
LOCAL MAN #3
Writer: Tony Fleecs/Tim Seeley
Artist: Tony Fleecs/Tim Seeley
Colorist: Brad Simpson/Felipe Sobreiro
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 26, 2023
Previously in Local Man: The hero formerly known as Crossjack is on the hunt for a murderer, a trail that leads him directly to a self-help guru who was once his sworn enemy: the villain known as Frightside. Now, the “Local Man” must find out what she knows before his high school sweetheart’s cop husband throws him in a cell. Meanwhile, in the past, Crossjack and Neon battle demons and angels (both real and psychological) at the end of the world.
ON THE TRAIL OF FRIGHTSIDE
Having found one of Hodag’s drawings, Jack Xaver (who is legally prohibited from being Crossjack) has put on a mask and gone in search of answers. The trail leads him to an arena in Farmington, Wisconsin, where former villain Frightside, now a successful author, is meeting her readers. When Jack accuses her, she breaks out laughing, explaining that his drawing isn’t a secret society that had Hodag murdered, but a chip that he got from their supervillain support group. She’s not the Frightmare anymore, and hasn’t let her demon out for years, but she agrees to help him, if only for the sake of their fallen friend-in-common. Back at her hotel, Frightside (or to be more accurate, middle-aged self-help author Stacy Wohl) calls upon her demon and instructs it to seek out the answer of who killed The Hodag…
Moments later, she is killed herself.
“GOD DOES EXIST! I MET HIM!”
The real crowning achievement of this issue, though, is our man Jack trying to help out a local priest who agrees to watch his dog by explaining that heaven is real, God and the Devil exist, and he’s really doing the right thing with his life. Sure, God is a giant golden android that eats souls, but… Y’know, those are just details? The flip-book actually shows us part of that 12-part crossover event, including more of what happened to get him thrown out of his old super-team, featuring a lot of authentic old-school ’90s details that I really appreciate. The creative team on this book swaps roles, with Seeley writing one side of the issue with Fleeca’s art, and Fleeca writing the other with Seeley penciling, but both halves of the book really gel well for me. The modern Image elements of Crossjack’s present are equally compelling, especially the fact that being a great superhero doesn’t preclude him from being an utterly useless, dimwitted human being in every other aspect of his life.
BOTTOM LINE: STILL A GREAT READ
From the start, this book has been a great read, but Local Man #3 ups the ante for our ex-hero, fleshes out a world where super-heroes exist in fun ways, and even provides a rationale for whether or not Crossjack is the betrayer that the public wants to believe he is, with two different brands of excellent art coming together for 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. If there’s a flaw to this story, it’s that I have trouble believing that Jack Xaver was ever anything but a Midwestern putz, but even that adds a wrinkle of realism to the book’s world.
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LOCAL MAN #3
Things get rough for the former Crossjack, in an issue that adds to the complexity of the story without forgetting that it's meant to be a love letter to '90s Image books. This one's really good.