by Michael Vance & Dr. Jon Suter
May 19, 1999
Reviews in this issue:
Golden Age Mystery Men - Agents of Law 1 & 6 - Welcome Sputnik Press
Golden Age Mystery Men
There was a time in America when the color of morality was not gray and colorful heroes wore red, yellow and blue spandex and capes.
Among these heroes were "The Black Terror," "Phantom Lady," "Mr. Scarlet," "The Avenger," "The Ghost Rider" and "The Heap". They met crime and violence with law and defensive violence.
Their adventures were straight-forward, uncomplicated and, more often than not, fun. These fictional elements, more often than not, are missing in today's gray comic books.
You need miss them no more. These superheroes once called "Mystery Men" are back in a grand collection of reprinted stories from the '40s and '50s, Golden Age Mystery Men.
Undeniably, these heroes are too two-dimensional; without distinctive uniforms and powers, they are interchangeable. Subplots are impossible in brief seven and eight page exploits, and dialog is minimal. Stories are almost plot outlines. But their beliefs were widely shared by readers who added their imagination between the panels. These readers had practice "adding" with radio shows.
The art here is both mediocre and brilliant. The best artists of this collection are Jerry Robinson, Mort Meskin and Dick Ayers. Their art differs from today's crop in simpler page designs, a closer wedding of art and story, and less useless detail.
Buy this collection for nostalgia, because you're curious about early comics history, or because you want to add color to a gray world.
Golden Age Mystery Men #1/$6.95, 45 pgs. from AC Comics/various artists & writers/sold in comics shops or by mail.
The initial promise of an intriguing "super team", well written and drawn, set in a futuristic Golden City free of crime, pollution, and poverty, is broken by a rushed and unsatisfying final issue. That's a common symptom of cancellation.
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