It was the Nineties. Dear God, it was the Nineties.
I’m reviewing these in a huge chunk because honestly, they are the very epitome of everything that people make fun of about the early part of the decade. Coming out right during the same month–at least based on cover date because Image was notorious for its shipping delays at the time–Brigade #1 and The Ferret #1 were the latest in BIG EXTREME HEROES that were all about big muscles, big breasts, violence, and yelling. So much yelling.
The reason I have these comics is two-fold. First, they were all part of a huge collection of comics I got for free years ago, one that included two long boxes of a ton of then-recent Marvel and DC as well as a haphazardly arranged box filled with mostly independent comics from the Nineties. I have been grabbing from that box for my annual Festivus episode on Pop Culture Affidavit for the past few years, a tradition that started with the original Brigade miniseries followed by issues #4 and #5 of The Ferret. So it’s only natural that I dive into the bins again to pull out some of the rest of the story of what I’ve already gone over.
I actually owned the first issue of this Brigade miniseries back in 1993 because I had been suckered into buying the first issue of Bloodstrike with its “feel the blood” cover, which began a multi-part storyline that crossed over between the two books. But the second issue of the Brigade series would not be out until August and by then, I was done with most of the Image books, especially anything associated with Extreme Studios.
Both of these series are supposed to be big, bad-assed stories featuring big bad-assed heroes, and with Brigade, we’re supposed to care that Bloodstrike attacks the team at the beginning of the first issue and injures at least one other. But seeing that I didn’t care about the team after the miniseries, I wasn’t going to care about it at this point because all of my investment in the characters was supposed to be based on how cool everyone looked, and although there were some fairly interesting parts of a couple of the issues, it was a lot of yelling against backgrounds with few details.
Likewise for The Ferret, a once public domain character that Malibu threw into a team called The Protectors that were also mostly public domain characters. At best, I’d describe him as the company’s answer to Wolverine, which makes sense if you’re a publishing company in the Nineties and Wolverine was doing guest spots and walk-ons in just about every other comic Marvel was putting out. But here we have a guy who apparently is a rock star and a super hero? And then there are people after him, even women with huge shoulder pads and camel toe-inducing high-cut body suits? Plus, the first issue (sent my way by Professor Alan, the master of the quarter bin himself) is cut into the shape of his head.
Yeah, I guess.
Look, at this point, the Nineties were becoming exhausting and even though this is only a handful of stories, I found myself bored, tired, and rolling my eyes at every other panel, and whatever joy I found in these comics was feeling justified for crapping all over the other issues when I covered them on my podcast.
I have plenty of other books from this era, and it’s possible that some of them are actually much better than their Liefeld/Lee/McFarlane clone covers suggest. Maybe I’ll find value in the books that Wizard hyped up and that Entertainment this month considered HOT! twenty-five years ago. Then again, maybe I won’t and the rest of them will eventually find their way to the same place these will.
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?