Chico Comics Page Review: Fighting American: The Ties That Bind #1
Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Gordon Rennie
Illustrator: Andie Tong
Colorist: Tracy Bailey
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Reviewer: Chris “The Bearded Wonder” Natale
Some days, it’s nice to grab a cup of coffee, find a comfy spot in your house (or your friend’s), sit down and lose yourself in a fun, bizarre superhero comic. That is exactly what I did today when I read Fighting American: The Ties That Bind #1. At first I thought this character sounded like a spoof of Marvel’s Captain America. I liked this comic because of the playful shots it took at the Star-Spangled Avenger. For example, when Fighting American and his sidekick, Speedboy are getting shot at by a low-class villain named Matt a.k.a. Captain Zombiemaster (I did say the comic was fun and bizarre), Speedboy comments, “Golly Gee, Sir! If only they’d given you some kind of special shield, then you could use it to block these rays.” Fighting American replies, “A Real Fighting American needs to keep both fists free” and I would be lying if I said that I did not laugh a little at this conversation. All this talk about Cap and Fighting American, you might be wondering who came before who? Well, Captain America’s first appearance is was in 1941 and Fighting American’s was in 1954. Fun fact: Fighting American was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Gordon Rennie starts the issue by recapping who Fighting American, a.k.a. Nelson Flagg, is. In 1954, Flagg went through a military experiment where his mind was transferred into his dead brother’s, Johnny Flagg. Johnny’s body was enhanced, which allowed Nelson to be the Fighting American. Flagg and Speedboy, who seems to be quite reminiscent of a young Bucky Barnes, are both stranded in the 21st century. The first page of this issue features them fighting zombies, which immediately grabbed my attention. It was just fun and ridiculous. Sometimes, it is just nice to read a fun comic after reading a good amount of dark and serious titles. What I also like about Fighting American’s character is that he has visible flaws and is not the best mentor. For example, when asked what Speedboy’s real identity was, he did not know, whereas Cap or Batman would never forget their respective sidekick’s names. I felt bad for Speedboy, but it humanized both characters. It shows that not all superheroes have perfect relationships/friendships with their sidekicks/allies. I did not know if I would like this comic, but I am glad I gave it a read and I am looking forward to seeing where the rest of the series leads.
The art by Andie Tong really gave me the feel of a genuine, action-packed, fun superhero comic. Tong seems to know his way around this genre and his style just fits it flawlessly. One of my favorite pages was not even an action page—it was the aftermath and clean-up of the fight. Fighting American and Speedboy are talking to their friend in the FBI, Agent Rutherford, but in the background, one of the zombies they fought was being de-zombified panel by panel. I guess I just love the little details that artists work into comics that some readers may overlook. Tracy Bailey’s color flowed perfectly with Tong’s style and really gave this comic a wholesome feel to it. Her colors are very vibrant and really make each of the characters pop off the page. The lettering by Simon Bowland was very clean and I like the emphasis he provided on certain words or references to other comic characters, like Cap’s shield in the quote I wrote above.
Overall, this comic was action-packed, fun and it really made you feel for its characters. Fighting American just felt like he was out of his element in the 21st century, questioning phrases and words used in this time. He is set in his ways, but Speedboy seemed to conform just fine to the time period. The “villain” they fought was laughable and lame, but I could see that the true villains are pulling strings behind closed doors. The art was vibrant, enjoyable, and seemed to fit the story that was being told. If you enjoy superheroes, I think you’ll enjoy this book. Fighting American: The Ties That Bind #1 will be released this Wednesday so be sure to give it a look through and see if it’s something you might like.
Nelson Flagg aka Fighting American and his sidekick, Speedboy, are from the year 1954 and they have found themselves stranded in the 21st Century. Now that one of their villains, Madame Chaos, is in jail, they have to undo all the damage she has done. Their task is to find all of the stolen tech that she sold on the internet to all the whack-jobs under the sun. Can the Fighting American and Speedboy complete this task or is this just the beginning for the two patriotic heroes?
O’er the land of the free… Fighting American: The Ties That Bind #1 does not take itself too seriously, which is what I love most about it. There is a good balance of action and drama. The art really fits the superhero genre in my opinion. The official rating by the Bearded Wonder is a chinstrap on the beard scale, which is a 7.5/10.
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