Tuesday, May 22, 2012

GUNFIRE #0 - October 1994

Forward Thrust!
Credits: Len Wein (writer), Ed Benes (penciler), Brian Garvey (inker), Lois Buhalis (letterer), Martin Thomas (colorist)

Summary: Gunfire invades the offices of Ulti/Tech, giving Benjamin time to hack into their records and reveal their connection to Van Horn Industries. Following the trail of a mystery man named Ragnarok, Gunfire travels to a castle in the Adirondack Mountains. After defeating Ragnarok’s armed guards, Gunfire faces Ragnarok. To his horror, Ragnarok reveals himself as Gunfire’s father. In disbelief, Gunfire agitates the air particles around him and creates a giant explosion. He escapes, but discovers Ragnarok is still alive.

Irrelevant Continuity:
· Following the Zero Hour miniseries, every mainstream DC title released a #0 issue. Each zero issue was supposed to reveal a secret about a major character, or serve as an origin recap (or an origin clarification, depending on how Zero Hour impacted the book’s continuity). After Zero Hour, of course, DC continuity was never altered again.
· Gunfire learns how to turn a round object into a grenade, and how to “agitate air” and create explosions this issue.
· Benjamin’s brother is flying to the United States. He has an ominous smile, so you know this isn’t going to end well.

I Love the ‘90s: Benjamin downloads all of Ulti/Tech’s database, including several video files, on to one floppy disc.

Review: Gunfire began as a very ‘90s concept executed in a very ‘70s style (maybe '80s). And while Len Wein is still writing straightforward action stories about a reluctant superhero and his assorted supporting cast members, the capable artwork of Steve Erwin has been replaced by future internet punching bag Ed Benes. Yes, why keep an artist who can draw like Mike Zeck around when you can hire someone who draws like Jim Lee on a bender? This is perfectly logical in 1994.

Benes’ work is pretty much what you would expect here. He really likes Jim Lee, but doesn’t have the underlying drawing skills, so he produces a steady stream of grimacing characters bathed in superfluous detail lines striking awkward ballet poses at one another. The layouts are also a mess during most of the action sequences, making me appreciate Steve Erwin’s clean page designs even more.

The story is on the same adequate-but-not-great level as the previous issues, although the revelation that Gunfire’s father is still alive (“N-no…It’s not possible…We buried you!!”) drags this down past the level of predictable melodrama. Of course his father is still alive and is secretly a supervillain with crazy armor and Dr. Doom’s speech pattern looking for the elusive answer to immortality. That makes perfect sense. In fairness, Gunfire refuses to believe the revelation, so maybe Ragnarok will turn out to be some form of imposter. Still, the shift in direction doesn’t leave me excited for future issues.

1 comment:

Adam Farrar said...

Well it was probably a 3.5" floppy right? I mean that's believable. 1.44mb! That's a huge amount of space! I hope Benjamin remembered to flip the little switch so his disk couldn't be written over!

Now if it's a 8" or even a 5.25" floppy I'll call shenanigans on that.

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