Writer: Dennis Mallonee
Artist: Mark Sparacio, Carrie Fink (colors)
Publisher: Heroic Publishing
Liberty Girl #1 is a good first issue, even though the main character is hardly present in the proceedings. No, there isnít much of her, but there is plenty of gorgeous art, thanks to the capable hand and meticulous detail of Mark Sparacio. I have seen his work previously in Elsinore, and his work on Liberty Girl is just as outstanding. This is an artist with a bright future ahead of him, as he brings a sense of haunting realism to his comics. The only problem is that there is only one more issue of Liberty Girl scheduled for the remainder of the year (sometime in September), probably due in part to the amount of time it takes Sparacio to illustrate an issue. Is this a problem? For this kind of comic book, I think it is, since this kind of comic works much better if itís in a readerís hands on a monthly basis. Otherwise, itís very easy to forget a title like Liberty Girl. While this is a nicely rendered and ably written book, there is not any single element that makes this a must-read for fans. But, it is fun nostalgia, with the microscope squarely leveled on the many differences between Golden Age and modern comics.
The perfect example of this dichotomy is the final scene of the issue, which is told in flashback from the memories of Colonel Daniels. After a chronal wave of objective time (which is a great symbolic story technique by Dennis Mallonee) has washed over Daniels and her staff, they encounter a demonic-looking beast dressed in a German stormtroopersís uniform and sporting an iron cross on his forehead. This guy is like the Red Skull on steroids. In fact, he looks a lot like Doomsday, with the jutting bones sticking out of his chin (though I will say the space-age metal boots donít really do it for me). Anyway, this creature stabs one of the men with a giant spear, then sucks all of the life force out of this guy, shown with disturbing detail by Sparacio. As he throws the lifeless body away, he grabs hold of the other gentlemanís head and squashes it like a pimple, splashing Daniels with copious amounts of blood. These two pages clearly show that there is nothing Golden Age about the present day scenes, as the violence and blood are par for the course in modern comics. After the brutal slaying of her colleagues, Daniels is lifted into the air by the creature, who she realizes is named Daemon Kreuz (Iím sure this miraculous realization will be explained later). She fires her gun into his face and hurts him, presumably because of ďknowing his name.Ē Sounds kind of mystical/biblical, but Iíll buy it for right now, since Daniels is obviously more than meets the eye (Speaking of looks, Daniels is drawn like a brick you-know-what!). Anyway, Kreuz throws Daniels to the side and is about to attack her when Liberty Girl appears on the scene, obviously ruffed up a little and fixed with a pissed-off expression. The final panel is great, as it shows the fired-up Liberty Girl flying toward the now-cowering demon. It is the comic book hero as inspiration in full effect, as Liberty Girlís fists are clenched, her jaw is set, and the stars and stripes are the brightest colors in the panel. This is the kind of image one thinks of when remembering the comic books of the distant past, and it works in direct opposition to the violence and despair of the images preceding it. Mallonee understands the old-fashioned appeal a character like this will have with fans, and he uses this knowledge to present a hero we can all appreciate and root for.
My verdict? There are a lot of questions here, but not a lot of answers. What is with Colonel Daniels? How does she know about the chronal lightning before it strikes? Where has Liberty Girl been and why is she still so young? This would normally be okay, but knowing that any answers will be a while in coming is discouraging. But, as long as Mallonee continues the dichotomy of old and new and Sparacio keeps on wowing us with his magnificent style, this will be a title I will keep an eye out for at my local comic shop. My only hope is that it will one day become a monthly.
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