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Project Superpowers #2

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Jim Krueger, Alex Ross
Carlos Paul, Debora Carita (c)
Dynamite Entertainment
"You're lucky Yank because you get to live one more day. First I'm going to rip Dynamic Man to pieces. Since when is he a robot?" -- The Black Terror

It's more of the same in Project Superpowers as Krueger, Ross, Paul and Carita give the public domain heroes of the past the kind of resonance no doubt some of them deserve. I've never read these heroes' original adventures. I've only heard about them, but the creative team makes me like them.

The original Daredevil -- known as Death Defying Devil to avoid litigation -- manifests in a Paris overrun by terrorists. No doubt Krueger was keeping a close eye on the French headlines last year when violent demonstrations started to occur.

Heroes work best when transplanted into reflections of our sometimes sad reality. How many times have you looked at the news and said we need Superman? We need Batman. We need Wonder Woman. They're not in this book, but the heroes presented in Project Superpowers have their substance and their visual weight.

The incident involving Death-Defying Devil could have been written for any generic hero, but the creative team make it intrinsic to the character. Angry at his imprisonment, he looks at Paris turned into a lawless third world country and acts to change things. When he raises his boomerang, it's a moment of classically depicted heroism.



It's the kind of illustration and move that makes a super-hero fan's toenails crack. The golden sunlight reflecting off the boomerang and brightening his red and black lends symbolism to the Devil's intervention. It makes him look iconic.

Project Superpowers is more than just a series of heroic poses. It's more than nostalgia. Indeed, how could this adventure be nostalgic when likely you've never read an adventure with these heroes. The creative team work also to make the characters human. Comedy arises from the promise made by one of the Devil's bowling pins just before he falls into unconsciousness. A few sparks fly between the Devil and the police officer he rescues. The Terror and the Flame express genuine sorrow for their lost loved ones, and the Dynamic Family of robots demonstrate their annoyance at the Lama's latest sleight of hand.

Krueger, Ross, Paul and Carita do what I wish other creators would do. They treat their characters with respect and dignity. The humor laced in these pages is meant to be shared with them. These very human heroes, each one effective crime stoppers, impede the machinations of injustice, and that's what a super-hero is supposed to do.



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