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Flare #34

Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2006
By: Ariel Carmona Jr.



Writers: Steve Perrin and Wilson Hill
Artist: Terry Pallot

Publisher: Heroic Publishing


Perrin and Hill do a good job of crafting an interesting but strange tale of revenge. The abuse of power and the idea of a demonic drug racket is also handled well. Criminals using Dark dust as a means to even the scales when fighting against law enforcement and Superheroes makes for a good concept. Flareís battle with former drug lord Maxwell Krueger turned energy sucking monster is rendered in vivid detail by the competent penciling of Terry Pallot, even if the antagonist resembles the Incredible Hulk enveloped in purple electricity. Flare is an interesting heroine in the tradition of Power Girl and other more well known female lead characters, and the writers should be given kudos for developing interesting villains for her to battle.

The story also benefits from an interesting supporting cast. Olga as Sparkplug seems to have an interesting dynamic with her boyfriend, the reporter, even if her costume makes her look like a reject from the Captain Marvel family. The notion of heroes coping with a secret identity, and whether or not to tell their significant others about such identity has been explored before, most recently in Marvelís summer event Civil War, but it is nonetheless a dilemma most masked or disguised heroes have to face at one point or another, and Sparkplug chooses to conceal her identity here.

I also liked the idea of mixing mythological influences such as Tartarus and an Olympian goddess with a contemporary tale, given the fact comics are creating new mythologies for the modern era on a consistent basis. The courtroom scene gives a credible account of what a media circus the trial of a well known criminal, turned super villain, would be like. The fact Max uses Nikkiís orchid to transform in the middle of the proceedings heightens the dramatic tension and delivers some satisfying action panels. What really stunk about this issue of Flare for me had to be the cover by Gross and Estlick. Itís as if the artists just grabbed a copy of an old Hulk comic and the colorist painted Hulk purple.

Also in this issue is Liberty Girl. Thereís a plug to this other heroine within the lead story as people comment on Flareís outfit in the courtroom. The backup story involves Liberty Girl helping police thwart a hostage situation. The question asked by the police officers at the end of the story echoes the readerís, but no answers are provided. It seems most will have to pick up Liberty Girl #1 by Dennis Mallonee and Mark Sparacio to get more background on this bronze goddess of freedom.



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