Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel

Well, I’ve finally gotten to Superman Month aka “Superman Analogue Month”… I’m still working on the title. As I said before, I’ll be looking at different analogues/homages/rip-offs to Superman. I’ve looked all around for them and I’ve found quite a few. Today, I’ll be starting with one who is a little similar to another hero I’ll be talking about this month.

The Blue Marvel was one I actually came across a few years ago. I had heard about a mini-series featuring a long-lost forgotten black superhero and I was interested. It was actually a long time before I found those issues though. I found all five of them in the cheap bin. The character was created by actor/writer Kevin Grevioux, the writer behind the Underworld movies. He apparently came up with the idea as a child and was able to do the story for Marvel. Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel was released throughout 2009. While Grevioux handles the writing duties, the pencils are handled by Mat Broome and Roberto Castro.

Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel
Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Pencils: Mat Broome and Roberto Castro
Inks: Sean Parson, Alvaro Lopez, Lorenzo Ruggiero 
Colors: John Rauch
Letters: Dave Lamphear
Costume Designs: Kaare Andrews
Editor:  Alejandro Arbona

***By the way, this takes place post-Civil War and pre-Secret Invasion.

The story starts out with the Mighty Avengers (led by Iron Man) getting trounced by a horribly-dressed villain called Anti-Man. The guy is even beating the Sentry, another hero who will show up here this month.  After Anti-Man disappears, the team tries to see who this villain is. It’s revealed that the last time he appeared was in 1962 when he faced a long-forgotten hero called the Blue Marvel. Tony Stark does research and finds out that the government did something to the hero. He gets with Dum Dum Dugan and finds out what happened.

In 1962, Blue Marvel, aka Adam Brashear, was revealed to be an African-American after his battle with Anti-Man. His costume was torn and everyone could see this. The government was afraid that this revelation could cause chaos in an already chaotic time in America, so President Kennedy asks Adam (who was a war veteran) to cease his superhero activity. Adam reluctantly does this and retires to a simple life with a wife and two kids. Tony is appalled by the revelation especially when he meets Heartz, one of the President’s advisors from that time. It’s also revealed that Heartz had Adam’s wife, Candace, keeping tabs on him for a while.
Yeah, I got nothing on this.

Tony reaches out to Adam and his wife. Because of this, Candace reveals her past to Adam. Adam doesn’t take it well and wonders what he should do next. He ends up going to the moon and actually getting into a conversation with the Watcher. It turns out they met a long time ago when Adam had to fight off an alien invasion. He then goes to see Tony, Reed Richards, and Hank Pym at Avengers Tower. He tells them all about Anti-Man, aka Conner Sims. It turns out the he and Conner were scientists trying to harness some sort of anti-matter. An accident happened and they both got powers. Unfortunately, Conner was eventually driven mad and became Anti-Man.
Anti-Man: a bland villain made worse with his stupid costume and horrible helmet. Can he even see anything with that? Does he pick up AM/FM frequencies with that thing?

Adam tries to work with the men, but they’re butting heads a bit, so Adam leaves. He heads to his secret underwater base where he runs into Namor, the Submariner. It turns out they also met back in the day and even fought each other. After their talk, he suits up and heads out. He’s in space when Anti-Man knocks him to the moon. It’s revealed that Anti-Man has plans for trying to right the injustices of the world… by destroying everything. Yeah, he’s crazy and his costume still looks bad.  Anti-Man takes down Blue Marvel and leaves.
Namor being nice to someone? Now that's definitely a retcon I could live with!

Adam recuperates and heads to Avengers Tower where the rest of the Mighty Avengers are preparing. He has an idea that’ll stop Anti-Man, but Mr. Fantastic shoots it down since it’s too dangerous. Adam decides to go on with his plan, so Iron Man (for some reason) sends the Avengers after him. It’s a tough fight for the team, but they do take Blue Marvel down and put him in stasis. Candace finds out and (like me) is a bit perplexed. After the team leaves, Adam wakes up and the two reconcile.
Oh Sentry... I'll get to your crazy butt later.

 Anti-Man shows up and starts to do his destruction thing, so the Mighty Avengers do Reed’s plan. Of course, it doesn’t work. Blue Marvel finds them and they realize they’ll have to follow his plan. They go through with the plan and it does work with Anti-Man being defeated. Unfortunately, Candace gets caught in the crossfire and dies. Sometime later, Tony comes to Adam to see what he’ll do. In the end, he decides to step back into the hero business. The story ends with Blue Marvel sporting a new uniform.

This was a decent read in my opinion. While it does have some things going against it, I did like it. I thought the overall story was fine. The concept of Blue Marvel’s history is pretty interesting in a messed up way. The character of Blue Marvel was pretty cool as well.  I liked seeing him interact with characters like the Watcher and Namor. His interactions with Tony and the rest ranged from “WTH” to pretty interesting. His first meeting with the guys and Mr. Fantastic’s conversation with the rest was pretty good.  I’ll get to the “WTH” part later.

Now, I did have some issues with the story. Anti-Man was pretty bland as a whole. Not only was he bland, but he looked ridiculous in that costume of his. Some of the flashbacks were a bit confusing to follow at times.  This gets noticeable later on in the story. I also thought the fight between Blue Marvel and the Avengers was too contrived. There’s really no reason for it other than the fact that it could be cool. I will say that the fight with the Sentry was funny.

The dialogue could be a bit verbose at times. It’s not bad dialogue, but it could go on for too long at times. I also feel like this whole story could have been an issue or two longer. On the cover to issue 1, it said it was to be a six-part story. For some reason, it ended up being five parts and the story does suffer a little because of that.

The artwork is another thing that hurts the whole thing. I didn’t enjoy both pencillers. The artwork could be wonky and inconsistent. I was confused on how old Adam and his wife were supposed to be since they didn’t age much between 40-something years. Broome’s stuff was little better but not by much. Castro’s stuff wasn't my cup of tea. It sucks because both guys do the equal amount of artwork for the book with Broome doing a bit more. As I said before, Anti-Man’s costume sucked and it looked like it came straight out of the early 1990’s. Still, the action could be nice and I did like Blue Marvel’s costumes.

Overall, this was an okay read. It has its flaws, but it did create a new hero and it tried to look at a subject that most mainstream comics don’t get into. Blue Marvel kind of disappeared after this story. Recently, he’s been seen in Mighty Avengers and Captain America and the Mighty Avengers. By the way, it’s not the same team in this story. This team is full of minorities and is even led by Luke Cage at one point. It would probably be something I’d read if Greg Land wasn’t doing the art. I’ll be back with a creation from a weird source. Peace, God Bless, and remember that Tony Stark can be an enormous tool too.


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