DC Comics 2017
Written & Illustrated by Howard Chaykin
Coloured by Wil Quintana
Lettered by Ken Bruzenak
Jack Kirby’s two wartime kid gangs share their first adventure together in a novel-length tale written and illustrated by Howard Chaykin! When the Boy Commandos arrive in New York on the trail of a secret Axis agent, they’re greeted as turf invaders by the crime-fighting Newsboys! Can these kids put aside their rivalry and join forces to protect the home front? Also features a Kirby reprint!
With Mister Miracle out this week we also get the first of the Jack Kirby specials with a tale that had to be told by Chaykin. The man has a unique talent when it comes to bringing this WWII era alive and very few can rival how he does it equally through the language as he does through the interiors. What surprises me here is that this is their first adventure together, I’m surprised it never happened before now.
I like how this story is structured. That we see events unfold that bring the Boy Commandos from the European theatre to the New York City thus introducing them to the Newsboy Legion. So with Paris free the costumed heroes went over to finish off Hitler I presume and I guess that explains why the Guardian isn’t around for Legion kids. Also those that we do see this issue that are in a costume, though the American in that suit with all the advertising was a bit much for this time period, are the good kind of propaganda kitsch.
Love the interiors here! The way it comes to life on the page is phenomenal to see and the use of page layouts through angles, perspective and those backgrounds really make everything pop. While it has the signature Howard Chaykin look, tone and feel to it there’s still a nice look back to how he interprets these characters so closely to how Kirby made them.
For an homage to Kirby and the first of them to come out this was pretty freaking amazing. It makes me want to go back and the stories of their I have or find ones I’ve not read yet. There’s such a rich history in DC that has been left out, pushed aside as irrelevant and that couldn’t be further from the truth. This story alone says there was a time when the Crisis didn’t exist and that there’s still room for stories with these characters that could be as entertaining and educational in ways they never were. I mean those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it as #45 is so aptly demonstrating.
Howard writes a very good, strong story that brings two sets of Wartime kids together and makes it a must read. That alone should tell you this is still viable and these franchises should have their day in the sun again. For those of you who’ve never read any of their adventures the way the characterisation and dialogue is here is pretty darn spot on how they were originally created to be.
This represents the glory that DC had once upon a time and I desperately want to experience again.