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There are big doings re: Infinity Inc. over at The Comic Treadmill tonightH kicks off the new series by giving us his impressions of the young group’s roster… It’s very helpful, but I’ve got a quibble or two:

1. While I appreciated the critique of Northwind on a stylistic level (quoth H: “The way this character was written his name should have been milquetoast. He rarely spoke or exhibited any personality. And his power – flying. That’s it.”), I have to dissent from it. Just based on a re-reading of the first ten issues (I hadn’t read’em in about 13 years), I like what Roy tried to do with Norda. The way I see it, this is how a person from a closest-thing-to-Utopia kinda place like Feithera (seems like a version of Shangri-La to me) would behave in the human war-zone. He’s polite to everyone (even those who treat him abominably), eager to please, and displays a good sense of humour (which is not to be confused with “life-of-the-party” type clowning)… Actually, I see Northwind as a kind of trial run for one of my favourite Thomas-written (although not Thomas created) characters–Rintrah!!! Of course, Norda can’t shape-shift, which prevents him from doing fun stuff like turning himself into Fred Astaire when you least expect it (indeed, the bird-man lacks the bull-man’s convert-to-pop-culture zeal entirely–at least through issue 10)… Bottom line–there aren’t many Gandhi-style passive-resistance heroes out there, and I applaud Roy for trying to write one into Infinity Inc.. That’s not to say he was able to do much with him, of course…

2.The other high-point of H’s introduction was his discussion of Nuklon, particularly this observation:

Out of decency, I’m not going to mention that Roy decided a Mohawk for Nuklon was a hip haircut in 1984. Damn. I guess I have to mention it. A Mohawk? In 1984? If Roy was doing this to deliberately make Nuklon look like an out-of-touch social loser, he’s a creative genius.

Well, I’m going to plunge right into intentional fallacy territory here and argue that the haircut is an inspired bit of characterization, for precisely the reason that H states. I mean, Nuklon is an out-of-touch loser, trying hard to fit in with a new, rather self-assured crowd, and it’s pretty clear from his dialogue/thoughts that the mohawk is a bid for acceptance, rather than some kind of defiant gesture…

By the way, all of this talk about bad eighties hair got me thinking about one of my favourite bands, and the frontman’s Nuklonesque cry for help, after things began to fall apart in…yes, 1984:

That’s Joe Strummer folks (thank you Google search!!!)

Oh yes–and here’s some awfulness, courtesy of my hometown rag… I can’t believe Dirk Deppey gave this review the time of day! I mean, “Comic Books have grown up”? Come on! I thought it was already a cliche to make fun of cliched statements like that! And please, “looking at wars and hardships” has nothing to do with being grown up–all that entails is writing & drawing in a sophisticated way (read “sophisticated” any way you want, but I mean “susceptible to sophisticated analysis”–it’s the academic in me)… Besides–if you must write about “adult-oriented” comics (and believe me–it’s not a must), then for God’s sake have the decency not to gibber about Mythology! I have no problem with Love and Rockets, and I don’t know The Fixer, but I don’t see how anyone can claim that Alex Ross is doing anything very mature, particularly whilst arguing, in the same breath, that the artist “draws the superheroes of his childhood not as they appeared in print but as they lived in his imagination”… That’s my whole problem with Ross! He (& Busiek, & Waid, & Doc Nebula + ADD, in his own sneering way) is responsible for the “retroactive infantilization” (“re-juvenilization”? certainly not the rejuvenation–more like the cremation) of the Silver Age… Would anyone out there care to read a novel that represented a putatively grown-up man’s recreation of his juvenile encounters with the novels of Henry James? Of course not. But we’ve been through all of this before!

Good night friends!
Dave

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3 comments

  1. Re: Nuklon’s mohawk

    I’d always presumed that Nuklon’s haircut was a not-so-stylish — but somewhat clever — visual nod to his roots (sorry for the pun): Cyclotron’s costume, and later Atom’s, had that odd “fin” attached to the top of the head.

    So, I’d just accepted Nuklon’s mohawk as a reminder of his parentage.

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