They say comic book characters never die. In the case of (almost) all, this is indeed true, certainly when looking at the big 2. However, while many characters have long, established histories, some do disappear into obscurity. This week, however, we take a look at Titan Comics recent revival of Fighting American, a character created in response to Captain America by his own legendary creators; Joe Simon and Jack ‘King’ Kirby.
Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Gordon Rennie, David Leach (Editor)
Artist: Duke Mighten (Aritst), Tracy Bailey (Colour Art), Simon Bowland (Lettering)
Price: £7.99 from ComiXology
This new iteration of Fighting American continues to follow Nelson Flagg, and his plucky sidekick Speedboy in their continuing fight against the forces of Communism. Continuing from his original adventures, this series sees the Fighting American and Speedboy transported to the present day while defending temporal scientist Dyle Twister along with a group of communist conspirators. Now stuck in a time very different to the one they know this heroic duo have three days to round up their villainous counterparts and prepare to return home. Will they survive this strange new world to return to their time and, more importantly, will they want to?
With the Fighting American, writer Gordon Rennie has produced a very enjoyable story which really imbues the satirical nature of the original run. As with many superhero comics, Rennie has made these first two issues incredibly action packed, while slanting the tone of the book with something reminiscent to James Robinson’s recent Airboy series. The plot is intriguing enough, with some good (temporal) twists and turns, leaving you to wonder what the mysterious villains pulling the strings are truly up to. However, this plot, along with the characters rather cliched and one-dimensional personalities, take second place to the humour that this title offers. Fighting American feels like a book which is very much tongue in cheek while playing it straight, similar in the vein to the 60’s Batman series. This is best exemplified when seeing F.A.’s (though don’t call him that) McCarthyist viewpoints contrasting against the aspects of life we in 2017 take for granted, as well as his confusion to the modern day smaller cars, cosplayers and those ‘shiny notebooks.’
Meanwhile, Duke Mighten’s art has a very silver age look and feel to it throughout this first volume, which nicely meshes with the modern day locale of the issues thanks to Tracey Bailey’s grounded, almost Gotham Central-esque colours.The artwork has a real charm to it throughout the first volume, with some nice pop culture references such as the police officers listing time-travellers and even a nice X-Files reference appearing during Rutherford’s introduction. There is also a real standout panel towards the end of issue 2, where Fighting American and Speedboy’s new attire really looks gorgeous and feels like a homage to Adam West and Burt Ward in some way.
Fighting American is a fun, witty, enjoyable book which works well at honouring the legacy it came from while also planting it firmly for a modern day audience. With some terrific scripting and some lovely art, Titan’s relaunch feels like a terrific continuation of Simon and Kirby’s initial work and offers the character a refreshingly new chance to critique the absurdities in a world we may no longer notice.