Current Reviews


Flare #31

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2005
By: Ray Tate

Writers: Various
Artists: Various
Publisher: Heroic

Three stories comprise this issue of Flare. Two are holiday based, which are a tough sell for me. Most holiday based stories are cloying, repetitive and just embarrassing for the characters that take part in them. Flare doesn't go quite that far. I'm happy to say. Indeed the story that made me roll my eyes was the second tale, which had nothing to do with holidays.

The first story takes place in Thanksgiving. Flare meets Lucus' folks and encounters some racism and hatred due to her white skin. The issues are dealt with in a rational manner, which makes the point that Flare is a super-hero book and Flare is a super-hero. Flare being an incarnation of Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn would not be bothered such things, and she's not.

Writer Wilson Hill pays attention to the characterization. He makes Lucus' family as diverse in mind as Gordon Purcell and Terry Pallot make them diverse in form, all of which are unashamedly ethnic in some way. Too often an artist will lack the skill or either be too afraid to bring in basic differences in body structure that have evolved throughout the human race. What you end up with often are white people with different color schemes. Incidentally, John Heebink's use of various shades of black skin tones and accounting for the paper quality displays a masterful touch.

The second story by Dennis Mallone is utterly awful. No, I shouldn't say that. It's basically a Mary Sue story. A technically well written Mary Sue story, but a Mary Sue story nonetheless. The artwork by Jeff Tompkins, Nathan Santisvan and Jeff Brennan like the story is technically decent, but it adds to the travesty with a misplaced girl/girl fight--that only has one attempt as far as I can see titillation--and a massive clump of lesbian text--as opposed to subtext. One thing really puzzled me. If Tigress can "turn into a cat" as stated in the story, why didn't she? It strikes me that full-grown tiger would be more of threat to Flare than a full-grown woman.

The last story by Mallone and Tim Burgard is mostly harmless. Flare visits a children's ward--nice at a hospital. That's exactly what super-heroes are supposed to do. She then reads the myth of Jesus Christ's birth. On the one hand, I suppose a Greek goddess wouldn't care if children believed in a myth purporting to give them a peace loving savior. On the other hand, it's all bit silly to have a Greek goddess do this. It would be like Wonder Woman praying to the Christian God instead of Athena.

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