Wednesday, May 16, 2012

GUNFIRE #4 - August 1994



Squeeze Play
Credits: Len Wein (writer), Steve Erwin (penciler), Brian Garvey (inker), Bob Lappan (letterer), Martin Thomas (colorist)

Summary: Gunfire leaps from the train, protected by his armored suit. The train derails and destroys what remains of his father’s weapons technology. Later, Andrew is visited in his new apartment by Detective Rivera, who’s still investigating Gunfire. Suddenly, the armored Marauder breaks in, targeting Rivera. Andrew exposes himself as Gunfire and chases away Marauder. Rivera promises to keep Andrew’s identity a secret, but is incensed the next day when Gunfire illegally trespasses on the property of the company he suspects employs Marauder. Rivera stumbles into Gunfire and Marauder’s fight and stops Marauder by destroying the computer network connected to his armor. Gunfire is then placed under arrest.

I Love the ‘90s: Ben, who’s watching the Marauder fight on a series of monitors, compares the picture quality to a laser-disc.

Review: The issue doesn’t get off to a great start, as it opens with a predictable cop-out resolution to the previous chapter’s cliffhanger. The basic premise to the new storyline, Gunfire versus his third Armored ‘90s Guy in a row, isn’t very promising either. However, Wein has worked around some of the standard superhero clich├ęs by changing the dynamic of Gunfire and Rivera’s relationship. Rivera discovers Gunfire’s secret ID when Gunfire protects him from a mob hitman (conveniently hired by the same mob family we know has ties to Van Horn Industries), and is actually pretty reasonable about the ordeal. He thanks him for saving his life, but still expects him to make a statement, which will be kept confidential. So, Gunfire’s secret ID is known to the police, but not the general public. He can live with that. Gunfire isn’t a “duly deputized officer of the law” though, so when Rivera catches Gunfire breaking and entering the very next day, he isn’t going to let him get away with it. The nuanced relationship between Rivera and Gunfire has a lot of potential, and I’m glad Wein isn’t taking the more obvious route of making Gunfire and the police automatic allies or enemies.

Is there anything else of note this issue? Oh, yes. The first hints that Monika can’t be trusted are dropped. How else do you explain her lusty desire for Gunfire’s half-mullet/half-ponytail?



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