Reviews Of Old Comics: E-Man #2
I like reviewing older comics that may have been forgotten, either due to rarity or just a general lack of continuation over the years. E-Man is one of those series that has not had a large enough profile to keep visible, especially to newer readers.
In the office of Private Investigator Michael Mouser, E-Man works as his assistant. E-Man’s girlfriend Nova Kane visits before leaving town for the weekend in her job as an exotic dancer. Mauser is hired by Mr. and Mrs. Porn to find their missing teenage daughter Kitty. She is the latest in a line of disappearing teenagers, all in the same area. Coincidentally, the area is where Nova is going this weekend. Nova is upset that E-Man and Mauser are tagging along, since it was meant to be the first opportunity she would have to come to terms with being an energy being like E-Man since gaining those powers a couple months ago.
On Long Island, we learn that Kitty Porn is in the care of Dr. Ford Fairmont who leads the F-Men, missing teenagers given powers by his equipment (very similar to those of Marvel’s X-Men). His assistant Dave kidnaps them for the Doctor’s equipment to transform them into members of a super-team.
On the train from New York, there is a fire, which prompt E-Man and Nova to battle in their superhuman identities. This draws the attention of Fairmont and his F-Men who see Nova as a prime candidate for their team. They each have versions of the comic book F-Men’s powers and personalities, to the extent that their thought balloons are extremely wordy and fully explain their personalities and/or powers each time. They are able to beat the duo, and capture Nova.
They place Nova in Dr. Fairmont’s machine which magnifies her powers and gives her the personality of Jean Beige, the Albatross. The comic book company has received word of the F-Men’s battle with E-Man and seek to put them to work for their company, since those characters are their property. Fairmont’s assistant Dave has targeted Michael Mauser’s Nephew and his girlfriend as candidates for Fairmont’s team. E-Man stops him after a short battle.
The comic publisher has hired the villainous master of smells, Masternose to trap the F-Men. Nova’s new personality is not settling well, just as E-Man and Mauser torture Dave into giving away everything he knows of Fairmont’s activities and plans.
Masternose catches Nova alone and uses his powers to brainwash Nova further into becoming the Black Princess of his Ninth Circle of Hell Club.
It’s always hard to judge the writing of a parody, but Martin Pasko did an admirable job at poking fun of Chris Claremont’s writing style. The set-up is a little forced and far-fetched, even for parody, when a simple parody would have sufficed, but he stays consistent with it. The individual character parodies are a little badly done, and show in some cases a lack of thought other than being a parody of another character. The best character among these is Zitpops, but that is understandable as he serves as a potential love interest for Nova as the Albatross.
The art by Joe Staton matches the humor level well, almost to the point of setting the tone. To go with a more mainstream style, which Staton can certainly do, would have meant the panels with heavy, Claremont-like exposition would have seemed too much of a copy of the X-Men rather than a parody of them. The only problem I have a t times is the pacing with multiple parts of the story being explored on one page, rather than happening all in one setting instead of bouncing back and forth. I don’t know which creator is to blame here, but suspect that the bulk of the blame goes to Pasko, and Staton’s ownership of the blame is how he paced the page breaks.
As far as I can tell, this issue has not been collected, and given that it was published by First Comics, it may not be likely to get reprinted anytime in the near future. Back issue prices are not too high on this and it wouldn’t be unheard of to find it in a bargain box.
FINAL RATING: 8.0 out of a possible 10. It’s funny, but just not firing on all cylinders. The parody sometimes comes across as vindictive, but isn’t entirely wrong. Joe Staton is a great artist, but seems to have rushed himself in a couple of places, but otherwise carried the script adequately, aside from a couple of problems with pacing.
BONUS: This issue has one of my favorite Twinkie parodies of all time, “The Butler Didn’t, by Max Collins and Terry Beatty. I still quote and paraphrase it to this day. I’ve put it below so you can enjoy it as well.