“Enginehead, First Gear”
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Ted McKeever
What saves Enginehead? Artist Ted McKeever. There’s nothing wrong with Joe Kelly’s story, mind you, but it’s just warming up. The planet Earth is in big trouble again, and it may all have to do with a space station that fell from orbit and crashed in the small town of Leadbelly, U.S.A. Only a mysterious scientist knows for sure, not that his ambiguous narration is helping the reader understand much. What is clear is that said scientist is recruiting various third-string characters throughout the DC universe so that he can ‘weld’ them all together as a single force, ‘Enginehead,’ to combat the threat to Earth. That’s all well and good, but, again, it’s nothing more than a warm-up.
McKeever’s art, however, is sensational. I admit it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but nonetheless it is wholly suited here. His dense, smeared, distorted, scratchy style captures the various moods that Kelly is setting into place, gloomy in one panel, overlapping with brightness in the next. And if ever DC decides to resurrect the Metal Men in their own book, McKeever would be the perfect artist for it. His rendition of Tin on page 16 is perfect. Too bad Tin refused the offer to join the team! Okay, the first issue has me won over by the artwork while skeptically hooked by the story. Now let’s hope it really kicks into gear.
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