Current Reviews


Flare Adventures #13 (FCBD Ed.)

Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2005
By: Michael Deeley

Writer: Wilson Hill
Artists: Gordon Purcell & Terry Pallot, J. Adam Walters & Rob Lansley, and Chris Marrinan

Publisher: Heroic Publishing
Price: $2 USD

Normally, I wouldn’t bother reviewing a comic you can get for free. But I didn’t get this on Free Comic Book Day. I bought it from Heroic Publishing, so it qualifies for a review.

Heroic Publishing has brought back Flare and other superheroines it published in the 1980s. Flare Adventures is an anthology series reprinting old Flare stories with new stories featuring Heroic’s other characters. This issue presents Flare fighting the Whipperette, The Black Enchantress meeting an old teacher, and Psyche fighting demons.

Honestly, I like this book. The Flare story is a little off-beat for superheroes. Our heroine has returned from a long absence. She’s trying to start a new life for herself when a couple of bad guys decide she’s trouble. They hire Whipperette, the sister of Ultra-Lash, a villain Flare defeated years ago, to kill her. She fails, of course, but returns to decorate Flare’s new house! Yes, Flare recognizes her, no, they don’t fight again. Whipperette didn’t really like her brother, but felt obliged to defend family honor. Now that she has, she can do the job Flare hired her for. Really didn’t see that one coming. It’s rare to find a villain with a practical set of values.

The tone of the Black Enchantress story changes quickly, yet naturally. At first, it looks like she survives an attack through dumb luck. Then she displays her power and skill. When an old martial arts master offers her rare scrolls, she gives him a “fair price”: burning down his hideout for trying to kill her. Don’t know if she let him live. Scary chick, man.

Psyche is a magic user who toys with demon rapists. She picks up their rhyming speech as she destroys them. This completes the book’s theme of women running the show. Not only are all the protagonists women, but we also have men in secondary roles. Flare is living with a new boyfriend assigned to be her police liaison. He basically runs errands and asks questions about her feelings. Between the two mysterious bad “guys,” the woman clearly has superpowers. The man doesn’t display any. And yet, the man’s in charge. I wonder why? It can’t be a coincidence that a stronger woman obeying a weaker man is the series’ main villain.

What I notice most about the art is the way the women are drawn. It’s decent, “good girl” art, not the usually comic book sex fantasy style. Flare has wide hips and a muscular body. She looks more realistic than most comic book women. Black Enchantress, however, looks flat chested. Seriously, there is no sign of curvature on her chest. It looks odd. The overall art quality is good, except for the Enchantress story. It looks like the colors bled over the lines. I think this was a black & white story recolored for this comic. It has the muddied look of an 80’s alternative comic.

Not a bad book overall. It’s definitely worth the $2 I paid for it. And I’m interested in seeing an issue of the new Flare series. So it succeeds at attracting new readers to the Flare family of titles.

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