Way back in early December, in a fit of nostalgia, I wrote a short piece about "Green" heroes in comic book history. Yesterday, much to my surprise, while browsing through Comic Store Guy's new selection of comics, I came across a comic featuring the unmistakable artwork of Alex Ross, and a VERY familiar figure -- the Green Lama!
Yes, the world's first Buddhist superhero is back, in VERY fine form, along with a whole, exciting slew of Golden Age heroes who have long since fallen into public domain. Dynamite Entertainment has finally released the long-promised first issue of Project Superpowers (Issue #0), and it is well worth picking up. Ross doesn't illustrate the entire issue (he and Jim Krueger share the writing duties), but the interior artwork served up by Stephen Sadowski, Doug Klauba, and Captain Moreno is gorgeous.
Ross fans will notice parallels between Project Superpowers and his other works, particularly in the aged protagonist being manipulated by spirits a la Kingdom Come. Project Superpowers #0 also makes use of two tried-and-true chestnuts of superhero plotting -- "Hitler Is Obsessed With The Occult," and, "Let's Throw Obscure Golden-Age Heroes Into A Modern/Future Setting." HOWEVER, Project Superpowers takes these familiar plot devices and essentially turns them on their ears. There are some very interesting twists in the proceedings.
The main protagonist of this first issue is the Fighting Yank (Yankee), who is now aged and struggling with the sins of his past -- and being plagued by two spirits with completely different agendas. Green Lama serves as a philosophical counterpoint to the Fighting Yank, and is also somewhat feared by the Fighting Yank, for a very good reason. Green Lama also views the occult issues at work with a healthy dose of skepticism as he teams up with the Fighting Yank and other superhero colleagues to battle the evils of World War II.
I won't go into more detail, especially since Issue #0 presents only the setup. But it's a GREAT setup, and it definitely promises even greater things to come.
My only complaint is that I wish the creative team had taken time to explain who all of these Golden Age characters are up front, since most readers aren't likely to be familiar with heroes like the Mighty Samson or the original Daredevil (now called "Death-Defying Devil"). Still, the comic is a great read with plenty of action and fabulous art, and my guess is the series will get around to filling in the information gaps in very short order. Definitely a must-have issue, and a title worth watching, in my opinion.
Now, if only someone would bring back Green Turtle ...