Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MAVERICK #6-#7, February-March 1998


Credits: Jorge Gonzalez (writer), Jimmy Cheung & Leo Fernandez (pencilers), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Kevin Somers (colors), Chris Eliopoulos & Virtual Calligraphy (letters),

Summary: A friend volunteers to give Maverick and Chris medical exams. Chris walks in on Maverick’s exam and discovers the scars created by the Legacy Virus are gone. Chris is angry Maverick kept his remission a secret, but Maverick must leave after getting a call from his contact, Gregor. He soon learns Gregor has been placed in a trap by Sabretooth, who knows Elena is hunting him. After rescuing Gregor, Maverick follows the note left by Sabretooth and heads for the sewers. In the tunnels, he discovers Sabretooth and an unconscious Elena.

Continuity Notes: Chris Bradley is now referred to as “Brian,” the false identity given to him by Maverick. Maverick even calls him Brian during their private conversations, even though the recap page still lists his name as Chris Bradley.

Review: Elena’s vendetta against Sabretooth has never been too interesting for me, but Gonzalez does explore one angle that works in the opening of this issue. Because she’s a telepath, Elena can recall all of her memories. This allows her to dream of Sabretooth’s murder of her pregnant mother and her own c-section, and recall the details with absolute clarity. This truly is haunting, and it’s certainly a great opening for the issue. Unfortunately, what follows is pretty bland. Chris overreacts to Maverick keeping his remission a secret, while his technology dealer Isabel reminds him that her ex-husband will start a custody battle if she doesn’t cut ties with him. This is the drama this gruff, shadowy secret agent has to deal with -- teenage emotions and divorce issues? Maybe if Chris and Isabel were fleshed out more as characters I would actually care about these plots, but as it stands they don’t seem appropriate for the series. The art still carries a lot of this weight, and I’ll give the editor credit for finding a co-artist who meshes with Cheung. I can’t really tell where Cheung’s pages end and Fernandez’s begin, which is extremely rare for an issue with two artists.

Desperate Moments

Credits: Jorge Gonzalez (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Kevin Somers (colors), Chris Eliopoulos & Virtual Calligraphy (letters),

Summary: Maverick battles Sabretooth, as he begins to suffer seizures and his powers go haywire. Elena regains consciousness and psychically attacks Sabretooth. When she discovers her mother amongst the memories of his victims, a psychic backlash is triggered. Maverick destroys the pipes and creates a flash flood, escaping with Elena. He soon discovers Elena is now in a coma. Meanwhile, Chris begins to lose control of his powers.

We Get Letters: The editorial response to rumors Maverick is close to cancellation: “If we ever find the guy who’s spreading these rumors around, we’re going to string him up! Maverick is here to stay…!” Maverick is cancelled with issue #12.

Review: It’s an issue-long fight scene, and Jim Cheung really gets the most out of it. The actual content of the fight is extremely shallow, though, as Jorge Gonzalez is still unable to give Maverick or any of his foes much in the way of personality. I remember Scott Lobdell giving Maverick some snappy, action movie quips in his early appearances, which might not be the most original take on a secret agent character, but at least he doesn’t just sit there on the page. Gonzalez’s Maverick has the charm and wit of a sack of potatoes, which has to be a partial reason why this series died at #12, while its contemporary Deadpool lasted for several years, buoyed by a vocal and devoted fanbase. Couldn’t Maverick say something slightly clever while fighting the villain, rather than dryly spelling out how each of his weapons work, or explaining how his powers are acting up? Gonzalez does get some decent material out of Elena, though. The trip through Sabretooth’s psyche, which recalls the glimpses of his childhood seen in the Sabretooth miniseries, is a nice scene. Revealing that Sabretooth has a mental gallery of all of his victims gives him another creepy touch, and using Elena to expose that uses her character wisely. Like the previous issues, there are some ideas that work quite well, but it’s hard to really care about a book with such an uninteresting protagonist.

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