Heroic Publishing 2016
Written by Roy & Dann Thomas
Illustrated by E.R. Cruz
Coloured by Tom Luth
Lettered by Jean Simek
It had to happen! Bluebolt vs Sparkplug! Reprinting Captain Thunder & Blue Bolt #8 (June, 1988)
I’m a huge fan of these stories. The work the Thomas’ did outside DC and Marvel doesn’t get the attention or credit it deserves. At the time this was cutting edge comics storytelling, not hampered by corporate mandates they were able to tell stories that delved deeper into the characters than anyone else was doing at the time.
Not only that but the interior artwork here makes me miss this era. So incredibly detailed, the use of backgrounds is astonishing and just the way page layouts were done through angles and perspective were flawless. Not to mention how good the faces are here and how much attention went into every detail you see on them and the page.
If you read this you’ll see it stands the test of time. It’s just as good, strong and interesting for today as it was when it debuted. You’ll also see this kind of storytelling being commonplace in comics where it’s really very story and character driven work. The depth that the Thomas’ get from their characters here whether they be villains who open up the book or father and son alone in the woods it’s so good that you will forget this isn’t brand new.
There’s a great opening page telling the story so far so when, not if but when, you read this you’ll get caught up on Captain Thunder and Bluebolt’s story. I do like the opening here with the King’s Gambit and his chess themed court at his command. It evokes the thought that this story will be told like a chess match, one move here one there using pawns to begin then bringing out the stronger pieces. It’s the kind of layered story that makes things interesting since you don’t know which is going to be which or when it’s going to happen and that’s the gripping fun of this adversarial gambit.
Sparkplug is a member of the Champions, another Heroic series, and this is her introduction to the pair. They all share similar powers and what she’s doing here well I found that rather risque even now. I mean we all know that women go for what they want and have various means of doing so, from subtle to outright. Still seeing her in action alongside the boys as if she’s a part of the family and enjoys them trying to shake her off well it adds that fun and levity element to a heavy story.
After a particularly bad experience and some time in contemplation in the woods the boys come home to find themselves thrust into something new and being used from all directions. With the help of Sparkplug can they turn the tide and free themselves from the predicament they finds themselves in? Keep reading it’s the only way to find out.