Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Half Past Danger

Just when I think I've sworn off contemporary comic books for good, one sucks me back in.

Interesting thing is, they do it by going old school.

Half Past Danger is a series published by IDW.  It's a story set deep in the midst of World War II.  In it, Sgt. Tommy Flynn takes his platoon on a mission to an island in the Pacific.  They find Nazis when they were expecting Japanese.  Why Nazis?  Because the island has a population of surviving dinosaurs and the Germans are interested in capturing, breeding, and weaponizing these animals...for ends you might not expect.

As you might imagine, it doesn't take long for the US soldiers to find themselves on the wrong end of Jurassic Park.  It's dinosaurs vs. army soldiers and it's not a fair fight.  Flynn becomes the only one of his team to come out alive...and he hates himself for it.  So what does any square-jaw Irish action hero do under the circumstances?  Simple.  Drink himself into a stupor.

That is until two figures show up to drag him back into action.  One is a US Marine named John Noble (no, I don't know if he was named after the Fringe actor) who might be a product of the Captain America treatment if you know what I mean.  The other is a noirish beauty from MI-6.  They announce that they are going back to the island to stop the Nazi experiment and they need Flynn's knowledge to do it.

This comic book pretty much has everything.  The allusions to Indiana Jones are obvious, what with Flynn being a "man of action" and even wearing a brown bomber jacket as well as fighting Nazis, but there is also more than a bit of James Bond tossed in as well as the feel of old pulps and movie serials.  I have read the first story arc of six issues (which I believe is now available in collected format) and it gets my highest recommendation.

Nostalgia does admittedly play a part in my liking of the comics, but is a particular strain of such.  The genre of straight-up adventure is very hard to come by these days.  This is due in part, I would argue, to jungles no longer seeming so mysterious and impassable and most islands being charted.  There is also far fewer areas in the world that are truly "remote" due to the connectivity of a "global village." Now as I'm sure you know by now, I am no Luddite who yearns for a "simpler time." I do however, miss stories that were possible due to the greater amount of gaps in humanity's knowledge of the world.  It is within those gaps that adventure can take place.

Plus it's got Nazis and dinosaurs.  What more do you flippin' want?

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