Critter #3

A comic review article by: Ray Tate

Critter, Rookie and a cadre of superheroes fight off the amphibian hordes of Tidalpool. That is if a crazy chick obsessed with Critter lets the femme champion contend against the baddies.

Hutchison subtly fleshes out all his characters. For example, he establishes Rookie's power through deed. She can absorb and discharge energy. This makes her a superb partner for Starlette who can generate enormous amounts of energy. Rookie's attitude is can-do, but she is way out of her league when fighting Tidalpool who comes off as regal and lethal. His power, at least his signature power, is to spew a sticky goo filled with sea debris. It's at once repellent and effective.

Of course, Tidalpool's real danger arises from his ability to lead a giant squid and his minions on an attack on the mainland. The squid proves a vicious opponent for Starlette and Rookie, but where is Critter? Paradox, the time traveler, has a record of Critter's appearance in this battle, but a confluence of events seems to put time out of joint. To quote another time traveler: "Time can be rewritten."

Rookie Misnamed

Critter on her way to the scene stops a purse snatching, which is perfect. She began her career thwarting cow-tippers. She knows that no crime is too small, and small crimes can grow to grand larceny and even murder. When Critter finally arrives, she gains the element of surprise and uses it against Tidalpool in a plausible fashion. However, her contributions to the battle become short-lived. The crazy girl from the previous issue isn't done with Critter yet.

Critter on Point

The seemingly random interference I'm certain is far from random at all. The fight with the fruitcake forces Crittter to abandon a tool already proven to be useful. This is a very clever, subtle loss. It's a sort of designed chaos by Hutchison that replicates the heat of battle and pulls a sleight of hand with Critter's engraved future.

Fico Ossio is an exquisite embellisher. His heroines are strong and healthy. His villains are just plain weird. The narrative gives him the opportunity to animate the characters with a gamut of emotion ranging from amusement to sympathy. Each hero moves differently. Critter is a lithe actioneer. Rookie is a blunter instrument, and then we get to Slipstream who is grace in the air. Lovely all the way through and packed with adventure.

Slipstream to the Rescue

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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