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American Dream #1

Posted: Friday, May 9, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Tom DeFalco
Todd Nauck, Scott Koblish (i), Bob Ro (c)
Marvel Comics
"Shattered Dream"

I've always liked Shannon Carter, the American Dream. This clear legacy Avenger from MC2 had a lot of potential, and the latest mini-series attempts to meet it.

The moment that American Dream steers her motorcycle through a window, she makes an impression. She then seals that feeling not with a kiss but with some shield throwing that makes her the worthy successor of Captain America.

The book settles down somewhat after her intervention uncovers what appears to be a major plot against the free world. She leaves the particulars to the police. Defusing weapons out of mass destruction is a little out of her league. Shannon returns to her civilian life, and that's the problem. She doesn't really have one.

American Dream presents the reader with a refreshing change. So much of the mirror Marvel Universe has been about destroying the secret identity. Shannon wants one.

Part of Shannon's lack of a social life stems from her origin, recounted in a few scant but informative pages. Her parents, one of whom was Sharon Carter, are killed in an auto accident. Shannon survives but is left alone in the wreck for days; the art in this scene, without going overboard, suggests that her isolation may have affected her development.

After being rescued and spending time in the hospital, she's raised by OSS alum Peggy Carter, the renamed original Agent-13. Being exposed to two versions of Sharon Carter, naturally leads Shannon to become transfixed on Captain America and nothing else. Her job at Avengers mansion is also a reflection of her inspiration.

Shannon's sadness is palpable, but it's subtle. The void in her life is not the end of the world, and the lion's share of the book is dedicated to American Dream's acrobatic daring, not emo soul-searching. In a sense, Shannon's surprisingly normal. She's not eaten away by guilt, vengeance or angst. Rather, her life isnít as perfect as she would like.

Shannon doesn't often dwell on these shortcomings, and once she's presented with a crime, she instantly becomes alive as a determined, strong, smart, athletic Avenger that energetically entertains the reader via Nauck's artistic sense of kickass. Some really nice color combos by Ro complete the aesthetic.



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