Rating: 4/5 – A fresh new “old” take on Buck
I’ve seen a lot of different incarnations of Buck Rogers, from the 1939 Buster Crabbe serials (no, I’m not that old, I saw them on video tape, but the fact I know what video tape is makes me old, I guess) to the 1979-81 Gil Gerard TV series (I did watch this 1st run on TV) and the 2009 Dynamite comics series. I’ve also read Philip Francis Nowlan’s novella Armageddon 2149 AD in paperback (which was the 1st appearance of Buck)
Howard Chaykin’s take on Buck is the most true to the original, and as such may be a bit jarring to people only familiar with the character from TV & movies. This is squarely in Chaykin’s wheelhouse, his writing & art style is a great match for Buck fighting the Han for control of the meager resources of the rebels striving to remain free in the forested wilderness of what was once the United States. This is NOT the ultra-futuristic society from the TV series, though we get rocket packs & pulse pistols. It’s rough and gritty and oh-so wonderful as illustrated by Chaykin.
The one place that Chaykin lost me a bit was inserting some politics into Buck’s origin that I don’t recall from Nowlan’s original, but I can forgive him that, Chaykin has a soapbox here so he’ll insert the message into his work that he wants to. It didn’t ruin the story for me, but kept it out of the 5/5.
Where Chaykin redeemed himself was in telling the specifics of the origin in some flashback pages, not eating up the entire first issue (or entire 1st story arc if he was some comics writers) rehashing the origin. We get quickly to some fresh story elements, lots of action, and a compelling hint at what’s to come in the last panel that makes me want to read #2. Which makes it a very successful 1st issue in my book.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – firstname.lastname@example.org
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