Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Madbomb

Sounds a bit like some sort of slang, doesn't it? Yo, this is the mad bomb.

Captain America and the Falcon: Madbomb collects issue #'s 193-200 in a nifty little trade, with a sweet cover by the co-creator and writer/artist of the contained issues, Jack Kirby. Oh, and John Romita is along for the ride, at least on the cover.

Now, they don't call him Jack "King" Kirby for no reason. Anyone who's ever seen Kirby's work and has an ounce of sense will tell you he's the best thing that probably ever happened to the comic book industry. He's influenced 99% (gotta love those mad up statistics, still, it's likely true) of the artist working today, and it's probably fair to say that if not for Kirby there would be no comic industry.

Still, that's an argument/discussion for another time. What I'm here to discuss is Madbomb. For a story that was published about 25 years ago, it's got echoes of today all throughout the story line. It starts with Cap and Falcon arm wrestling inside a New York apartment when suddenly the two become infuriated with one another. Fortunately the duo come to their sense and eventually discover a tiny little gadget that's driving the neighborhood insane.

Turns out it was planted by a group of people calling themselves the Royalists Forces of America, who have a plan to used a giant madbomb to drive everyone in the country insane, and then take it over, thus killing democracy for good.

Of course what they don't count on is Cap and the Falcon infiltrating their hidden base, causing a panic, forcing the Royalists hand, and in the end (hope I'm not spoiling it for anyone, seeing as how the country is still somewhat under democractic rule) save the day.

Yes, there's tons of other little side adventures that make up the TPB, all of them involving the main plot though, which doesn't strike me as a common practice back then. Probably the most interesting tale is Cap falling in love with the daughter of one of the men they're after, the creator of the Madbomb. Of course it turns out that he was all but forced into the project, and thus not really a bad guy. Still, Kirby's use of emotion is always great.

Not that there aren't any faults to be found. Cap stepping out of an apartment window dressed in his gear seems a bit stupid on his part, the fact that there seemed to be the need to tie the villian in personally to Cap dumbfounded me, and the idiotic villians and their over the top ways just remind me of old James Bond films. Still, would you have it any other way? Nope, me either.

The book really shines during the action scenes, because no one does action like Kirby. The characters feel so much larger than life, and the villians seem so vile, even if they are over the top. The double page spread on pages 98-99 where SHIELD has finally take over the secret headquarters only to discover the evil mastermind gone was as classic as Kirby can get.

We have machines galore (nodody does machines like Kirby either) along with the Falcon in action, SHIELD agents rounding up what's left of the enemy, and Cap doing his best to point out the obvious. Sure, it's not a jam packed George Perez page, but it's probably my favorite page of comic art ever, or at least in the top five. Another good double spread is on 116-117, I'd swear Cap was about to roll off the page. Oh, and don't forget the action-packed Kill Derby issue.

The great things in the book far outweigh the goofyness of it. In fact, the goofiness is part of its charm I wasn't even around when these issues saw print, but it still made me feel like a kid again. That's not even mentioning the covers, which are so frantic that you start to feel like Cap's life is hanging in the balance if you don't read the issues.

This is a great buy for anyone who enjoys comics. It's written and drawn by someone considered to be the most talented man to ever work in the industry, it features an enjoyable story that still has relevence in today's society, and it's an all around nice package. It retails for about seventeen dollars, but over at they have it for a mere eleven bucks, which makes it an absolute steal.

This is definitely one that belongs in every readers library.


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