Quick Rating: Good
Title: Metal Heads
The new Fly finds himself tested.
Writer: Len Strazewski
Pencils: Mike Parobeck
Inks: Paul Fricke
Colors: Rick Taylor
Letters: Bob Pinaha
Editor: Brian Augustyn
Cover Art: Mike Parobeck
Publisher: DC/Impact Comics
In 1991, DC Comics licensed the Archie Comics superheroes for a line of titles they called Impact Comics. These new versions of the classic characters were intended to create a line that skewed slightly younger than the mainstream DC Universe, while still providing a solid superhero experience. Creatively, the books worked very well – there were a lot of goodwriters and artists on these comics, and the characters were reimagined in a very strong way. Unfortunately, a change in editors put the books in the hands of someone who wasn’t really behind the idea, and the line died in a few years.
While it was on the shelves, though, it was a lot of fun. This version of The Fly featured a young man named Jason Troy who was given a mystic amulet consisting of a fly encased in amber. The amulet gave him the power to transform into a super-hero. Jason’s first excursion as the Fly leaves him dehydrated and in the hands of a friendly stranger. His recovery is cut short, however, when the city’s Oktoberfest parade is targeted by wing-wearing kidnappers.
Jason was a great character that really worked here – we had a young, innocent kid thrust into the world of superheroing. He had a real Shazam kinda thing going on, and it worked well. This issue we see the Web – reimagined for Impact as a sort of police organization for superhumans (anyone ever heard of that before?) – testing him out, trying to determine if he’s got what it takes. Personally, I think he did.
This issue also featured art by the late, great Mike Parobeck. Like Mike Wieringo and Michael Turner, here’s a talent that left us far too soon. Parobeck’s style was animated, vibrant, and highly energetic. This is one of those early examples, and it was a great one.
I do miss the Impact Universe, and I miss the Archie heroes. I guess it’ll only be a matter of time before they get brought back in another form, but Impact, sadly, is probably gone for good. [2011 Note: I was right, the characters returned from DC in 2009. Aaaaand now they appear to be gone again.]
Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!
TITLE: Metal Heads
Writer: Len Strazewski
Penciller: Mike Parobeck
Inker: Paul Fricke
Letterer: Bob Pinaha
Colorist: Rick Taylor
Editor: Bryan Augustyn
Publisher: DC Comics/Impact Comics
PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: None. Looks like Spider-Man, but with a different bug. Yes, I know spiders aren’t bugs. Don’t lecture me.
IMPRESSIONS: Our hero, presumably the fly, crash-lands in a backyard and turns into a kid named Jason Troy. He passes out just in time for us to cut to a couple of bad guys. The boss is a pudgy little dude named Arachnus, who thoughtfully takes the time to give us their origins. Seems a bit odd, as the person he’s talking to most definitely should know the story already, but it certainly helps the reader.
Seems like Jason is suffering the problems of a double life. School and social life are suffering because he’s spending too much time as a superhero, and his mom is worried, but that doesn’t stop him from going into action the next day when some guys in armor attack the mayor at a parade. (Wow, the Mayor is actually wearing a sash that says “MAYOR.” I didn’t think that happened outside of The Simpsons.) There’s a fight scene, and we find out a couple of other guys in different armor are watching the whole thing. They seem to be happy about it, though. (Well, two out of three of them do.)
Not bad. The book doesn’t really tell us much about the Fly or where he comes from (except for what appears to be a magic amulet he uses to turn his powers on), but you don’t really need that to understand what’s happening here. Arachnus and his henchman don’t seem to factor into the rest of the issue, though, and the guys in yellow armor at the end are out of nowhere. I’m going to guess that both of those are setting up things for the next issue. You understand what’s going on, but you definitely get the feeling that this is only part of a story.