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Friday, October 31, 2008

Cover of The Week: Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1, No. 124

Like many comics fans, I suspect, I was introduced to this issue through the 45 rpm book/record by Power Records. What a pleasant shock to my young mind to find out (years later) that it was actually a REAL comic book!

The older I got, the more I appreciated the actual composition of the cover, rather than just the part of my childhood it had come to represent. The drama, punctuated by the classic Marvel-esque dialogue, was and still is primarily due to the dazzling pencils of John Romita, Sr. Don't take my word for it..., click the pic to take a closer look.

Speaking of Power Records, fans of those 45 rpm treasures should check here and here for remembrances of such goofy goodness!


Elemental Fources, issues 1-3, published by New Baby Productions, 28 pages, $3.49

Four people, granted elemental powers, are formed to battle an ancient evil and protect a powerful metaphysical artifact called the Terminus Libre. Along with a group of scientists/alchemists (who also dabble in magic) called The Brotherhood, they seek to stave off the forces of evil on the eve of Apocalypse.

That’s the premise of a new series called Elemental Fources. And, while showing a bit of individuality, only time will tell whether or not this book garners any kind of following.

Unfortunately, Fources is not terribly original on it’s surface, which is not a good thing in today’s glut of four-color flash and little substance. Super team books are a dime a dozen and that makes it difficult from the get-go not to be derivative. That means that writer Crisman Strunk must work hard to make characterization shine in this book. He seems to be polishing.

Strunk manages to show the characters in action, as well as enjoying leisure time together, all in the first issue. In each case, there seem to be sincere efforts at deepening them. More work needs to be done to make them stand out, but a beginning can be seen. He also achieves an entertaining surprise by issue three, with help from co-plotter Erik Mullarky.

The villain of the story is fairly standard. A ruthless and frightening demon, but a bit too straightforward in his violence. If writers are going to use violence that approaches over-the-top status, there should be something unique about the antagonist. It’s always helpful to remember that popular heroes usually owe at least some of their success to their unusual villains.

The art of Fources has a “talented amateur” look about it. Figures are a bit stiff, but artists John Becaro and J.C. Grande manage to keep characters’ proportions consistent. They also give readers visually interesting villains.

Due to violent imagery and dark subject matter, Elemental Fources is not for children. Go to for more information.

Review by Mark Allen