Marvel Fanfare #18

marvel_fanfare_vol_1_18I feel like I should qualify all of my Marvel Fanfare posts by saying that all of my copies aren’t in the best condition but I find that okay because I didn’t pay that much for it.  Ergo, these aren’t really going to net me very much in the way of a sale, so if I decide not to keep them, I will donate them.

THAT BEING SAID, LET’S GET TO THE ISSUE AT HAND, which is a Captain America story written by Roger Stern and Frank Miller with art by Miller and Joe Rubenstein (who is credited with “finishes,” so Miller may have done rough pencils or layouts).  The plot centers around a group of down-on-their-luck workers who feel ignored by the government and the economic recovery and basically turn to terrorizing parts of New York.  After accompanying the FDNY to one of their arsons, he investigates the group and after one of their fires results in a death, the police find a badge at the scene and Cap tracks down the crooked cop who then rats out the head of his organization.  The guy, Hal, who has a family, takes Cap to the organization’s headquarters and after Hal sets the place on fire, Cap has to rescue everyone … including the flag.  We end with a speech where Cap tells everyone how life in America may not always be easy, but at least we have freedom and the hope that comes with it.

It’s a bit on the nose in places, but I think that having Stern working with Miller makes it more subtle than it could have been (or maybe since this was 1985, Frank wasn’t yet smacking us across the face with whatever his point was).  There’s something to be said about how then–and even now–the average working guy often feels ignored or neglected and can even reach desperation that might have him take things into his own hands.  The decline of the middle class in our country since 1985 definitely gives this story some life beyond its original publication.

Similarly, the art is still pretty fresh, even if there are a few times where Rubenstein’s inks don’t exactly work on Miller’s pencils.  But the action is dynamic and uses the grid layouts, and Miller seems to have a lot of fun drawing Cap in hand-to-hand combat and using his shield whenever it’s appropriate.  But in the end, it feels like Marvel is sharing one of Frank Miller’s once-abandoned B-sides.

We also get portfolios by Kevin Nowlan and Terry Austin, both of whom are more known for their inks, but have a real knack for drawing sexy women.  It’s another solid issue, but not necessarily a keeper.

Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?

Donate.

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