Thursday, July 8, 2010

STRONG GUY REBORN #1 - September 1997

The Heart of the Matter

Credits: Todd Dezago (writer), Andy Smith (penciler), Art Thibert (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Matt Webb (colors)

Summary: Guido spends time with Lila Cheney, unsure about his future with X-Factor. Meanwhile, two alien races, the Jorkens and the Kronts, fight over a nearby moon. The Jorkens mistakenly kidnap one of Lila’s bodyguards, thinking him to be Guido, to blackmail Lila into teleporting a bomb into the Kronts’ headquarters. Guido arrives to rescue Lila, and tricks the Jorkens and Kronts into destroying the disputed moon. Guido decides to stay with Lila, shortly before the Jorkens and Kronts unite to fight their new enemies, Lila Cheney and Guido.

Review: Since X-Factor was only unintentionally hilarious during this era, Strong Guy was given his own one-shot. Todd Dezago seemed to be Marvel’s go-to guy for humor stories during these years, and while he has written some comics I’ve enjoyed, I can’t say that he’s written anything I actually thought was funny. The only thing that approaches humor here would be the running joke about Lila’s new bodyguard asking for health insurance, and perhaps the twist ending that has the alien races now united against the heroes. Most of the humor consists of Looney Tunes style slapstick that doesn’t translate well to comics, along with a few tepid one-liners. There is a small amount of meta-commentary on how radically X-Factor has changed over the past few months (“which seem like years!”). This era of X-Factor is ripe for ridicule, but Dezago doesn’t go for the throat and exploit the obvious target (I’m sure his editors wouldn’t let him do it, anyway). Andy Smith’s exaggerated style might be appropriate for Strong Guy, but he can’t handle normal human anatomy at this point. Lila Cheney looks terrible, with a chest two sizes larger than her head, a broken spine, and legs and giant feet that would make her around nine feet tall. I’ll give them credit for at least trying to revive the spirit of Peter David’s X-Factor, but this falls way short.

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