Friday, July 27, 2012


Chapter One
Credits: D. G. Chichester (writer), Daerick Gross (artist), Comicraft’s Liz Agrophiotis (letterer), Atomic Paintbrush (colors)

Summary: A mysterious spacecraft has landed on Earth. Captain America interrupts Tony Stark’s date and asks for Iron Man’s help investigating it. The duo locates the craft, unaware of a shadowy figure nearby.

Approved By The Comics Code Authority: Actually, this isn’t a published comic, so it was never CCA approved. However, I’m assuming Marvel wanted this to be all-ages friendly, so I was slightly surprised to see Captain America making what appear to be veiled references to Tony Stark’s erection, and Tony promising to show Cap a video of what he’s about to do with his date.

Review: This is closer to the D. G. Chichester I remember from Daredevil. A lot of snarky dialogue and world weary heroes, with a few lines thrown in to assure us that the old friends are just giving each other a hard time. Reading this today, it’s easy to hear Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man speaking this dialogue. It doesn’t quite match up with Kurt Busiek’s interpretation from this era, though, and it’s slightly disappointing to see Rumiko Fujikawa ignored in favor of an interchangeable bimbo. Anyway, the dialogue is pretty clever and the mystery is quickly set up for the next installment, so it’s a perfectly okay opening chapter.

Chapter Two
Credits: D. G. Chichester (writer), Daerick Gross (artist), Comicraft’s Liz Agrophiotis (letterer), Atomic Paintbrush (colors)

Summary: Captain America and Iron Man are attacked by gas when they open the spacecraft. After Iron Man shuts it down, Cap overhears a cry for help. They rescue the alien Mendak, who’s trapped under heavy debris. He explains that his race of traders crashed on Earth after passing through a wormhole. As the heroes help repair the alien ship, Mendak plots their death.

I Love the '90s: During the opening, the narrative captions advise the heroes to follow a politician’s advice and “don’t inhale.”

Review: D. G. Chichester does use Iron Man’s various weaponry in a clever way during the opening, but the rest of the chapter is rather dull. At least the heroes are smart enough to be suspicious of Mendak, but this is starting to read like a lesser Stan Lee story from the Silver Age. Heroes find aliens, heroes help aliens, heroes learn aliens are evil…not very inspiring, is it?

Chapter Three
Credits: D. G. Chichester (writer), Daerick Gross (artist), Comicraft’s Liz Agrophiotis (letterer), Atomic Paintbrush (colors)

Summary: As Iron Man and Captain America help repair the ship, Mendak distracts them with offers to travel into space with the aliens. Later, contaminated elements underneath the ship explode. The heroes confront Mendak, who turns a weapon on them.

Review: Some character drama is introduced into the story, as Captain America and Iron Man are given the option of abandoning Earth and joining this mysterious alien civilization in space. Iron Man has a more compelling reason than Cap, since leaving Earth would release him from his numerous business and philanthropic responsibilities and enable him to explore science in a way he’s never been able to before. Cap’s dilemma is simply that his value system is increasingly viewed as outdated in his own country, so perhaps an alien culture would be a better place to fight for his ideals. Chichester handles Iron Man’s quandary quite well, but understandably, it’s hard to come up with a believable rationale for why Captain America would not only leave his country, but the entire planet. At any rate, this chapter has the strongest character work of the serial and it’s nice to see the storyline diverge a bit from a predictable formula.

Chapter Four
Credits: D. G. Chichester (writer), Daerick Gross (artist), Comicraft’s Liz Agrophiotis (letterer), Atomic Paintbrush (colors)

Summary: Mendak reveals that the “crashed” ship is actually a mechanical parasite that’s turning Earth’s elements into poison. Iron Man develops a plan that sends Cap into the ship’s maintenance hatch, where he struggles to trigger the emergency override of the star drive. Cap succeeds, sending the spacecraft and the Ravelians back into space.

Review: And now we’re back to predictable formula. The aliens are evil, the heroes struggle really hard to defeat the aliens, and the aliens are kicked off Earth. I realize that the standards for a free webcomic on a company’s official website are already pretty low, but that doesn’t mean the serial has to actively live down to the expectations. When Chichester makes an effort to flesh out the heroes, the story feels like an authentic Cap/Iron Man team-up, but unfortunately the bulk of the story is wasted on a goofy, yet humorless, alien invasion story. Taskmaster wasn’t available? The visuals are also disappointing, as Daerick Gross’ art is covered in simplified inking and coloring that wouldn’t pass muster in a published comic.

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