Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Gil Kane Punch of the Week 14: Bring the T.H.U.N.D.E.R.!

No-Man punches out some Commie, from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents 16 (Oct. 1967), inks by Jack Abel, writer unknown.

I have to admit, this isn't a very dynamic Gil Kane punch, though it does showcase his use of the shot/reverse shot technique when drawing action scenes. I chose this image in honor of DC's recent announcement that they've acquired the rights to T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents after some problems that caused DC to pull the plug on a new series a few years ago.

I may be one of about five fans who are actually interested in this development, having enjoyed the issues of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents I had when I was a kid (though I am sick of typing all those goddam periods. I'm done with that for the rest of this post.).

However, I do wish that DC wasn't integrating the THUNDER Agents into the DC Universe. I understand why they're doing it, as I understand why they've done it with Milestone and the Red Circle characters. Still, what made the THUNDER Agents unique, and what makes their original stories still hold up today despite their Cold War milieu, was the fact that, for these heroes, the powers had extraordinary limitations and consequences. There was an added depth to these characters because of this: Lightning's life was shortened every time he used his speed suit, Dynamo could only use his power belt for 30 minutes without overloading his physiology, and No-Man progressively lost his humanity when his consciousness was transferred into his android bodies. But this depth is only relevant if these are the only heroes in their world. Incorporating them into a pre-existing superhero universe removes their uniqueness--if these same powers can be gained through safer and less limiting means, then why would someone choose these particular methods? I mean, in a world with a bunch of other speedsters, why would it be necessary for Lightning to put on a suit that made him age faster/

I will be curious to see how DC does incorporate these characters into their universe, so I'm not writing this project off before I even see it. I'm especially curious to see if they go ahead and publish the issues of the revival that were written by Marc Andreyko years ago (if I remember correctly, there were at least two issues solicited before the plug was pulled). It would also be nice if DC finished publishing the archives for this series and its spin-offs, or, even better, if they published more affordable editions.

1 comment:

ZenPupDog said...

IMHO - people at DC were responsible for the stress that ended the previous copyright holder's life too damn early.