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Red Menace #2

Posted: Saturday, December 23, 2006
By: Ray Tate



"The Eagle and the Bear"

Writers: Danny Bilson, Paul DeMeo, Adam Brody
Artist: Jerry Ordway, Al Vey(i), Johnny Rench(c)
Publisher: DC

Last issue of Red Menace, the Eagle revealed his identity before the very real fifties malignancy known as the House of Un-American Activities Committee--headed by Tailgunner Joe McCarthy, aptly named since he was a flatulent sphincter. Even the knowledge that the Eagle was a war-hero did not stop McCarthy's smear campaign.

Things grew worse for the Eagle as he learned that old enemies, including a Nazi agent, had become FBI operatives. One of these operatives tossed the Eagle across the street and into a hotel lobby where he impacted and shattered a potted plant.

Meanwhile, a new super-hero calling himself Gray Falcon took flight to resume the Eagle's cause. He provided the cliffhanger where a period mob intended to rub out the new hero before he made a name for himself.

The second issue of Red Menace follows its shamefully under-hyped premiere with a rousing follow up chapter. Bilson and DeMeo, with Adam Brody, write up to snuff and resolve the cliffhanger with the Gray Falcon in a characteristic flourish frequently seen on The Flash. Bilson, DeMeo and Brody treat their subject seriously, but they add a nuance of humor. This element lifts the scene from traditional fare and sets up the Falcon's next scenes in the book.

From the resolution, the writers neatly segue the point of view to the mobsters. Following their bloody trail smoothly transits to the Eagle's viewpoint. The Eagle we learn must have super-powers. His scuffle in the premiere merely results in a band-aid applied to his forehead and a pissed off attitude.

The Eagle currently divides his time cooling his heels under surveillance and comforting his daughter Helen, an innocent being ground up by the government's so-called stalwart defenders of truth, justice and the Commie-Bashing way. When confronted by news reports that imply the gauntlet of mob-war has been thrown down, the Eagle needs to fly. In this scene, Bilson, DeMeo and Brody show their love of the material. They do not consider secret passages to underground lairs to be tropes. Instead, they embrace them as tried and true. They consider the period in which the methods function and search for a plausible step-by-step process to give them verisimilitude. They did the same thing for Nightshade on The Flash.

Once in costume, the Eagle stages a daring rescue expertly imagined by Jerry Ordway and Al Vey. This time something new has been added. The victims' attitudes reflect those of this wrong-headed time. They should be grateful for the Eagle's talons reaching out to save them, but fear and intimidation have clouded their ability to reason.

When the Eagle contacts an old friend, the culmination of corruption drops heavily on not just the Eagle but his counterpart. How the Eagle will find his freedom merely whets the reader's appetite for the next issue.



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