The Big Blow-Out!
Credits: Len Wein (writer), Ed Benes (penciler), Carlos Garzon & Brian Garvey (inkers), Lois Buhalis (letterer), Martin Thomas (colorist)
Summary: Gunfire’s aunt Lacey is targeted by the assassin Blow-Out. After failing to kill her with a car bomb, he invades her hospital room and takes aim. Gunfire, in his civilian identity, is forced to use a nearby I.V. stand as a weapon. As Lacey slips away, Benjamin helps Gunfire escape and return in costume. Gunfire defeats Blow-Out by snatching the pin from his grenade as his helicopter flies away. Meanwhile, the Gemini twins investigate Ragnarok’s headquarters, and shadowy figures stalk Benjamin’s brother.
I Love the ‘90s: “Extreme Crimes call for…Extreme Justice.” I don’t want to focus too much for Extreme Justice since it’s already been such an easy target for comics bloggers, but the ad for the series that runs in this issue is just too perfect.
Review: What can even be said about Blow-Out? Is he a forgotten G. I. Joe from the franchise’s final days, when Larry Hama really had to stretch for names? Is he a lightbox tracing of a Jim Lee Punisher drawing, right down to the headband? Or perhaps a rejected paramilitary parody character from the Slapstick miniseries? At least he isn’t a cyborg…
So, Gunfire faces another weak villain who a) looks ridiculous, and b) is about as much of a threat as L’il Archie. I suppose a small wrinkle is introduced, as Andrew has possibly exposed his secret identity to his conniving aunt, but that’s the only plot advancement that feels as if it might have potential. The subplots have the Gemini twins facing some of Ragnarok’s genetically altered faceless goons, as they embark on a mission the title’s hero couldn’t be bothered with, and Ben’s brother Billy being chased by mystery men with dragon face tattoos. (I wonder, has any comic with an Asian supporting cast member not done a story with the Yakuza or some other form of Asian mobsters?) This title hasn’t exactly been a thrill-a-minute before, but this installment is particularly dull.