Dark Circle Comics 2015
Written by Mark Waid & Dean Haspiel
Illustrated by Dean Haspiel
Coloured by Allen Passalaqua
It started as a family trip down memory lane, but launched into an all-out fox hunt as our hero finds himself targeted by his entire rogues gallery. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Fox must deal with his own worst fear: his son following in his superhero footsteps.
Well this is the finale for the introduction of the Fox family of crime fighters and Mr. Smile’s plan to test the man who he’s become obsessed with. I have to admit that I was more than a little surprised by some of the revelations here and the implications of what happened. I mean it’s been something of a slapstick comedy leading up to this but once the Fox and Mr. Smile face off it becomes abundantly clear that Mr. Smile’s obsession with the Fox is something truly scary at it’s core. It’s the idea that someone could become so focused on someone else that it creates this version of single white female syndrome which any public figure could be subjected to makes it dark and sinister in the best of ways.
I have to hand it to Dean here because while his unique style of artwork is normally what I gravitate towards has taken Mr. Smile and made him this really sexually ambiguous creepy nutcase that just looking at kind of gives you the heebie jeebies. While the five villains Mr. Smile has assembled to take the Fox down look very meh to me in this style of art they do have that air of something like the D list Avenger’s villains of the past, see 70’s/80’s era.
Before any of the action can really begin She-Fox enters the fray as she sees her husband surrounded and her son kidnapped hanging from the ceiling. Now we get the banter to take the edge off the seriousness and creepiness of what’s already occurred. The whole fight is orchestrated wonderfully and it’s fun to witness with the banter between husband and wife and Mr. Smile’s assistant just standing by watching it all keeping her boss updated on her smilepad.
I will say that this arc was really well planned and executed full of surprises and twists that kept me entertained throughout. It has firmly planted the Fox and his family in this new world Dark Circle has created for it’s characters and should there ever be team-ups in the future it’ll be interesting to see how they react in that situation. I also like how the family’s relationship with one another has grown and evolved here as well. From starting at something of a dysfunctional place to one where they are stronger than ever before with this experience having bonded them in ways none of them could foresee leaves their future wide open.
The Fox does indeed have its dark side to it but with it’s well placed levity and great characterization this is certainly a character to keep your eye on.