I thought I had an idea of where Project Superpowers was heading after the premiere. Ross, Krueger and Carlos Paul, however, surprise the heck out of me. They also make this surprising twist comedic and further distance themselves from their previous work.
The Fighting Yank was duped into using a magic urn to absorb the essences of his friends. The American Spirit (Uncle Sam) ordered him to find the urn and release super-heroes such as the Black Terror, Cat-Man and Kitten and Miss Masque.
This issue starts with the Yank visiting the Green Lama, one of the few who did not fall for the Yank’s shenanigans. The running joke of the story is that the Yank believes that his next moment will be his last. Upon meeting the Lama, he believes that his old friend will kill him. Instead, the Lama in a terrifically timed moment offers him sustenance and help.
The moment not only sets up the main plot. Study the world of the Green Lama, and you can see how it contrasts the subject of the next visit. The Lama is organic with an evolved sense of his self. He is now, like Gamera, a defender of the earth, not just humanity.
Carlos Paul accomplishes Ross’ and Krueger’s intent quite ably. He surrounds the Lama and the Yank with smiling, bowing beautiful people and cuts to the scene in a novel, unforgettable way. When the creative team transports the duo to the world of Dynamic Man, the trappings mirror the Lama’s world. The Dynaverse however is synthetic and only superficially similar.
The likeness of the two worlds reinforces the shroud of suspicion that faced the Yank so many years ago. The Yank and the Lama pull off the cloak, and the nature of the manipulation stands revealed in gorgeous artwork, enhanced by Debra Carita's colors, that makes a brilliant use of multiplicity.
Not only does the Yank and the Lama pull off the wool, they release at least one of our heroes. The Black Terror arises from the ground and bears such resonance that the current Marvel and DC heroes can only dream about. Once again, these heroes whose names barely register with me manage to announce themselves in deep baritone as they carve their names in stone.
The Terror promises the Yank that yes, his time is up. He will not only die, but the Terror will see to it personally. He continues to threaten the Yank even when his target shifts slightly, and I just found the whole thing hilarious. There’s something really funny about seeing the Black Terror pop out of the ground with a threat on his lips and continuing to threaten this old, old man - who knows he’s going to die anyway. Maybe it’s the cube rule of comedy. Tell a joke thrice, and it becomes funnier. Go four or five times, and it stops being funny. Go beyond that, and the joke becomes funny all over again. Such wonderful absurdity was an unexpected treat in Project Superpowers.
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