Friday, November 2, 2012

NICK FURY/BLACK WIDOW CYBERCOMIC - 1998



Jungle Warfare - Chapter One
Credits: D. G. Chichester (writer), Casey Jones (penciler), Atomic Paintbrush (colors), Comicraft’s Liz Agraphiotis (letters)


Summary: Nick Fury is informed that the government’s Gamega Bomb has been hidden away in South America since the 1970s. He travels with Black Widow and a crew of young SHIELD agents to retrieve it. Using Black Widow’s sex appeal, the team easily recovers the bomb from the local authorities. However, an unknown villain has targeted Black Widow and Fury.

Continuity Note: As explained by Fury, the Gamega Bomb is a combination gamma bomb and nuke designed during the Cold War and planted near the Panama Canal.

Review: Hey, Casey Jones drew one of the cybercomics! While I’m glad to see him on the assignment, I doubt he drew the extremely crude aircraft we see in this chapter. The panels that feature the Helicarrier and SHIELD jets are the kind of amateur work you might expect in an on-line exclusive comic; a very low standard I haven’t seen the cybercomics sink to yet. In a world that still had Ron Wagner and Herb Trimpe actively drawing comics (or at least looking for work), it’s a shame that these childish drawings of aircraft were used. However, I’m dwelling on a handful of panels; the rest of this work looks fine. Casey Jones’ interpretations of Black Widow and Fury are on par with the solid artwork he was doing for Marvel at the time, and Chichester seems to be having fun with the story’s simple premise. Opening the chapter with a cartoony flashback to the ‘70s was also a cute surprise.

Jungle Warfare - Chapter Two
Credits: D. G. Chichester (writer), Casey Jones (penciler), Atomic Paintbrush (colors), Comicraft’s Liz Agraphiotis (letters)


Summary: The SHIELD craft is struck down by a group known as the Tyrannicals. They demand Fury give up the Gamega Bomb, and he refuses. A SHIELD agent notices that the crash has armed the bomb. In a less than a day, it will detonate and destroy the rainforest.

Continuity Notes: The Tyrannicals consist of Scarrific (the large, strong one), Paingiver (a female with electric whip), and their leader, Torcher (a pyrokinetic; apparently, the flames generate from the top of his head).

Review: Ugh, more crude vehicles. Not just aircraft, but now we’re treated to sloppy renditions of the Tyrannicals’ ATVs. I have no idea why the vehicles in this story are so poorly rendered; I realize that the art in the cybercomics wasn’t done in a wholly traditional manner (notice that no one’s been credited as an inker so far), but I don’t understand why this requires the vehicles to look like something drawn in MS Paint. Anyway, this is an action chapter, introducing the reader to a throwaway group of villains called the Tyrannicals. They apparently want the Gamega Bomb right this second, even though they’ve had decades to easily dig it out of the ground without facing heavily armed SHIELD agents. Okay, fine. Now, have I mentioned that all of the vehicles in this story look like crap?

Jungle Warfare - Chapter Three
Credits: D. G. Chichester (writer), Casey Jones (penciler), Atomic Paintbrush (colors), Comicraft’s Liz Agraphiotis (letters)


Summary: Fury, Black Widow, and the last surviving SHIELD agent, Kyle Fleming, try to find some way to contact headquarters and receive information on disarming the bomb. They’re ambushed by the Tyrannicals, who combine their powers to box Fury and the others into a fire.

Review: This is the only installment so far that actually brings any of the standard “stranded in the jungle” tropes into the story, as Fleming is attacked by an anaconda and rescued by Black Widow. Surprisingly, this isn’t used as an opportunity to reference a certain cinema classic that starred Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, and Ice Cube. (Actually, that’s another movie I’ve never seen.) The scene’s apparently just here to justify setting the story in the jungle, since it doesn’t advance the main plot in any way. At the end of the chapter, the characters are essentially in the same place they were last installment.

Jungle Warfare - Chapter Four
Credits: D. G. Chichester (writer), Casey Jones (penciler), Atomic Paintbrush (colors), Comicraft’s Liz Agraphiotis (letters)


Summary: Fury, Black Widow, and Fleming escape from the Tyrannicals and hide inside an abandoned smuggler’s den. Fleming uses his technological expertise to send information on the antique bomb through the home’s satellite to SHIELD’s headquarters. Meanwhile, Black Widow and Fury defeat the Tyrannicals. Fleming receives the proper information and the bomb is disarmed.

Review: Okay, Fury believes in agent Fleming even when Fleming doubts himself, Fleming rises to the challenge, and the day is saved. This clearly isn’t deep, but it’s a reasonable amount of character work given the format. Chichester actually bothered to give Fleming a defined role in the plot, which is more than you can say for most writers who use throwaway SHIELD agents in their stories. Jungle Warfare is probably the most entertaining of the cybercomic serials I’ve read so far. The material still hasn’t risen past the level of an annual backup, but it’s fun to read and the art is nice. Except for, you know, those things…



3 comments:

wwk5d said...

Wow, that vehicle looks like it was done by the animators of Southpark...then again, wouldn't it have been hilarious if the whole series was done Southpark style? ;)

Teebore said...

I've never seen Anaconda either, but my dad and brother swear it's campy fun.

Anonymous said...

Never been a big fan of Ice Cube as an actor, but Friday was pretty freakin hilarious so maybe I'll give Anaconda a try. And yeah... those vehicles look like shit; why not just let Jones draw them? Were they on that short a schedule? He simply refused to draw them?

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