Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Much more than a bird or a plane: FX, by Wayne Osborne and John Byrne

Look for FX on!!!

FX, by Wayne Osborne and John Byrne: It's very modern in its
pace, chucking laborious exposition out the window---FX resembles Green Lantern, initially, but young Tommy's not Hal. It's rather more like Nova---but free of that 70's substitution of depression for characterization. Tommy and Jack are horse around high adventure style when the bolt from the blue strikes. Suddenly, whatever Tommy envisions, one thing at a time, he can become. Ever run across the yard making a buzz like a plane propeller, pretending to fly? When Tommy Talbot does this, he's surrounded by a yellow energy plane! Just that simple: but it's going to take practice!

We get a few time-honored coinky-dinks (wonder if some of them tie together behind the scenes?). Did not know why the giant ape Silverback could talk, but rolled with it. (Wayne intends to show his cards, some future story. He's still working out some bugs here!)

One power manifestation-at-a-time does keep things interesting! Having two vulnerable people and bystanders along does, too.

I have a strong feeling it's oriented towards people in their 30's and 40's (towards their young selves), so we get call backs like
Universal Monsters and combative gorillas. People tired of upping the stakes on grim and gritty get a new comic they wouldn't mind reading with the kids.

1) I like that the character actually "becomes" the things he imagines, rather than just projecting it, and that he is committed to that one usage, rather than, say, flying and making a bird (all right, now!) to fly behind his enemy. If he's ever going to make that evolution, at least there's a primary level for him at first.

2) Tommy is a likeable kid; not corny, not angsty, not morally conflicted at this point. Lucky, but plucky.

We may not have to get the story where his real arm is cut off and he has to use his powers to have an arm anymore, while he searches for the junkie murderers of his infant love child. He means well. One thing that eases Tommy's acceptance seems to be that the world's already full of monsters and super menaces.

His conflicts come from things like, he lucked into the (as-yet-unexplained) Zeus bolt, and not his friend; he doesn't want the possible romance at hand with the freaky outcast girl, because he's all about Raye. Maybe he doesn't want the additional social awkwardness that would bring, and more. It might be a liability to try to play the hero with too much depth, when his power works in the purest and least-sophisticated seeming way possible and gives FX a different strength.

At first I thought Talbot's (a-wooo!!) tastes were too much like a grown comic book/ movie fan, but then I remember all the old stuff I loved at his age, almost a history buff as well as a connoisseur of funky weirdness. Furthermore, the surroundings (including the Cybernetic Man v. Big Foot TV show) do nothing to contradict the idea that this is all in the 70s, save for a lack of polyester and corduroy; after all, it's even got some decent art from a guy named Byrne. Very decent, indeed.

It's more like a timeless Silver Age party that never ended. And volume two? Even better. More on that soon!

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