"Sargon the Sorcerer"
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Scott Hampton
Publisher: DC Comics
Warning: This review summarizes the entire issue. In other words, spoilers abound.
Despite how much I didnít like the last installment of the Helmet of Fate series that came out two weeks ago (Ibis the Invincible), I decided to give this issue a try because . . . well, because itís by a different writer (whose work on The Creeper I greatly dislike).
Essentially, Helmet of Fate: Sargon the Sorcerer #1 has the same plot as Helmet of Fate: Ibis the Invincible #1, but without the silly dialogue and goofy situations. Two weeks ago, Ibis was dying and needed to find a replacement to become the new Ibis. The basic details of this part of the story were stolen almost exactly from Hal Jordanís Green Lantern origin in Showcase #22.
In this issue, rather than dying, Sargon is dead. However, his spirit still resides in his house and is able to pass on the title of The All-New Sargon the Sorcerer to his grandson, who was brought to the house by two demons trying to get Sargonís Ruby of Life by tricking the grandson into signing documents that give them the deed to his grandfatherís estate.
Oh, wait, the idea of demons trying to take possession of a magical artifact by taking control of an estate by enacting a real estate scam does sound sort of goofy, doesnít it?
Oh well, it didnít seem that silly while I was reading itóand, come to think of it, the Faust legend involves the devil making a contract with Faust for possession of his soul. So I guess thereís a precedent for this type of ďpaperwork approachĒ for denizens of the underworld.
Like the Golden Age Ibis, the Golden Age Sargon wore a business suit and a turban. However, rather than carrying around a wand, Sargonís power was derived from the Ruby of Life, which the All-New Sargon has embedded in his chest by his grandfather. Presumably the old man knew his grandson wouldnít wear the turban where he carried the ruby back in the day.
The All-New Sargon has two other things that make him better than the All-New Ibis.
- Rather than purple tights, gold boots with shin guards, purple and gold forearm guards, purple and gold shoulder guards, a gold helmet, and a gold cape, the All-New Sargon opts for black pants, black shoes, black gloves, a black cape with red lining, and a black shirt with a white triangle on the chest (with a hole for the ruby to peek through).
Additionally, he seems to have opted for a tattoo on his forehead of a white star outlined in red. We can only hope itís a temporary tattoo that washes off in the shower.
- Unlike the All-New Ibis, the All-New Sargon has complete mastery of his powers once they have been passed to him when the spirit of the old Sargon embeds the Ruby of Life in his grandsonís chest.
And thatís it. Thatís the whole story. Admittedly, it sounds almost as goofy as the All-New Ibisís first story. However, Steve Niles doesnít give us a bunch of silly dialogue, and he is able to make the goofy situations not seem so goofy when you read them.
I should note, though, that the excellent work of illustrator Scott Hampton helps tremendously in making the situations not appear to be goofy. Itís great to see Scott Hamptonís work again. Iíve loved his stuff since he and Bruce Jones did Silverheels for Pacific Comics almost 25 years ago.
My only real complaint with this issue is that there wasnít either an ape or a monkey in it that continued the simian motif of the two previous Helmet of Fate installments. I was hoping for a gibbon. I dig their long arms and the way they swing.
In summation then, Steve Niles delivers a very slight story, but at least he doesnít fill it with inane dialogue. Additionally, while the situations might seem goofy when described, Niles is able to pull them off with the excellent work of Scott Hampton. Helmet of Fate: Sargon the Sorcerer #1 isnít a classic, but at least itís not crap.
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