Suspended Animation Suspended Animation
by Michael Vance & Jon Suter

June 12, 1998

Reviews in this issue:

Seeker #1
Guff!
Spectre


Seeker #1

980612a.jpg (15821 bytes)    The government has developed a secret agency to handle terrorist situations called the Tactical Advance Counter Strike Unit. In that strike force, the Seeker is top agent and ultimate weapon.

    The current Seeker works both inside and outside the Unit and inside and outside of sanity.

    That's because the first costumed super-agent is dead, and lives inside the second Seeker.

    Nice twist. She's also a babe which is a physical cliché that never goes wasted on clichéd males.

    If this sounds like plots from TV's Mission: Impossible starring The Avengers and guesting on Pretenders, you have good ears. But if these similarities sound unoriginal, listen again.

    The first issue of Seeker is an outstanding comic book.

    The writing is excellent and tightly plotted. Gary Reed writes in crisp, believable dialog and reveals details in both plot and characters with realistic, piecemeal timing. In particular, his characters are well developed within the limitations of one issue. You'll want to know more about them because you’ll know enough to care.

    The art is excellent. In realistic style, penciler Chris Pertzborn draws what is needed and no more. His visual storytelling is clear, dynamic and distinctive. You'll wish there were a few more black areas on his pages, but you'll enjoy every page nevertheless.

    Hurrah! There is no real nudity or foul language here!

    Seek this one out. MV.

    Seeker #1/26 pgs., $2.95 from Caliber Comics/sold in comics shops and by mail.


Guff!

980612b.jpg (24634 bytes)     Miniview: Guff! [Dark Horse]. In the 1960s, underground comics stretched the creative envelope...by filling it with drugs, sex, profanity and embarrassing bodily functions. After readers got tired of the novelty, underground comics went away.

    Here they are again (without the perverse sex and profanity).

    If you think that vomit, gas, vomit, cannibalism, vomit, drug abuse, vomit, snot, and vomit are funny, then this Guff! Is for you.


Spectre

    Killing major comic book characters has been a growth industry. Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman have "died" recently; Red Ryan, Ferro Lad and Professor X "died" in the 1960s. Of course, their revival was rarely in question.

    The latest casualty may be more permanent. After 62 issues, the latest run of DC's Spectre has ended with the funeral of James Corrigan nearly 60 years after his murder.

    The trick was that the Spectre was two personas: Corrigan and the wrathful spirit that inhabited his body. The origin of that spirit has been a major focus of John Ostrander's scripts. He identified the Spectre as the Wrath of God who left throughout history a trail of death and destruction of Biblical proportions. And I don’t mean Biblical.

    That interpretation is consistent with the earliest Spectre stories in More Fun Comics. From the first, the Spectre had access to Heaven.

    Lately, the Spectre's relationship with God has been troubled. Could an over-zealous avenger become worse than the villains he punished and require forgiveness?

    Ostrander's scripts have probed some deep theological concerns. Tom Mandrake's art is remarkably appropriate for the dark mood of the stories. Anyone familiar with Gustave Dore's illustrations of Dante and Milton will appreciate Mandrake's work.

    Prices for back issues of this latest version of the Spectre are low. Now is a good time to complete your collection as a long range investment.

    Other runs of the Spectre's appearance are either unaffordable; e.g. More Fun and All Star titles, or of lesser quality. Essential, however, are the three Showcase issues in which the character was reintroduced to the Silver Age audience. Artist Murphy Anderson's version struck me as better than those of artists Neal Adams, Jerry Grandinetti, or Jim Aparo. (Spectre's appearances in Justice League of America left questions that have never been answered.)

    Jim Corrigan is dead and finally buried, but the Spectre could be reassigned to another human host.

    Will his green and white costume change after so many millennia?

    DJS.

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