Reviews of Old Comics: Samuree #1

Reviews of Old Comics: Samuree #1

SAMUREE #1

May 1987

Writer: Neal Adams
Pencils: Mark Beachum
Inks: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Colors: Liz Berube
Letters: Ken Bruzenak

Lately I’ve been on a run of reviewing DC Comics. So I went through my comics looking for something to review that wasn’t by DC. My last comic was one of the best comics ever published, so I decided to go with something a little more underrated. Enter the world of Neal Adams’s Continuity Comics.

In 1987 I was getting back into comics after a brief period of abandoning them in an attempt to get girls to like me. Yeah, if I could go back in time, I probably would tell that kid to get over it, life gets better after High School. Nevertheless, my only outlet at first was a convenience store with a spinner rack that let me get reacquainted with the X-Men, and discover a few new titles, including Samuree.

SYNOPSIS:

Daryl Sheppard, a sixteen year old girl, alias Samuree is training exceptionally hard, but not being noticed by Lieutenant Pierce, with whom apparently she is in love  and practically throwing herself at him. He reads in a newspaper about a hijacking that led into a hostage situation in a natural history museum. Meanwhile, three young superheroes working out also notice the same newspaper article and recognize a name among one of the hostages.

A SWAT team is moving through the museum quietly, but don’t notice Samuree also moving through the museum in the shadows, until she confronts them asking them to let her lead them since they are making too much noise. They attack her and she takes them out quickly. In formulating a plan to rescue the hostages, Samuree notices more people moving like the SWAT team. A confrontation happens and she has more trouble with them, as they are super-powered. They immobilize her long enough to talk, and realize that they are both there to rescue the hostages because of men in there that are relevant to their respective pasts. The three men are Megalith, Armor and the Silverstreak, calling their team the Revengers.

They attack the terrorists, taking them out one by one until one gets the drop on Armor, apparently cutting in half with a machine gun, which really upsets Samuree. She single-handedly takes out the terrorist that cut down Armor. Armor is fine due to his armor, and the four heroes go after the three hostages that some of the terrorists have taken to the roof to escape. Conveniently, two of the three men are the ones the heroes came specifically to rescue.

Samuree0109

REVIEW:

Okay, let’s get one thing in perspective from the very beginning. Samuree is sixteen years old. Normally, I would call the artist to task for sexualizing an underage character, but the artist is not the only offender here. In the captions, it’s heavily implied that she’s exercising so vigorously to get Lieutenant Pierce’s attention because she’s in love with him. Later stories would give context for Samuree’s cultural ignorance, but she is trying to be sexual. After that, the artist goes out of his way to draw her costume in a state of perpetual wedgie, and emphasize it in poses.

It would not surprise you to find out that the artist is Mark Beachum, who has gained notoriety for drawing highly eroticized women. He’s a perfectly fine artist who knows his craft and knows his market. Here, he carries all of the other tasks involved in this story adequately, even admirably, but the crotch shots are distracting. When I remind myself that they’re of a character that is sixteen years old, they become disturbing.

The story is relatively simple, and doesn’t waste time trying to give us an origin, throwing the character into the action. I would question the inclusion of guest stars right away, but from the ads, it’s obvious that Continuity was trying to create a sense that readers should buy as many of their books as possible. The story is credited to Neal Adams as “original story’ which makes me believe that Mark Beachum may have worked from a rough plot, but there is no credit given to the scripting, so I don’t know who the offender is here. Motivations are a little confusing, and the terrorists goals seem a little vague, especially given that at least two of their captives are very important men.

The artwork is dark, which given the setting for the bulk of the story, is fine, except that it draws away from the artwork so much, and technically, the artwork is quite interesting, although I could have used a little more traditional layout on many of the pages. It’s been said that when everything is given emphasis, you don’t know where to look. The most visually interesting page is the first, but  the colors are muddy, and it’s cluttered with captions. In other places, very interesting action sequences require heavy study to discern the action. Throughout the book, though, the biggest offender to the enjoyment of the book is the colorist.

Samuree0118

NOTES:

I don’t believe this book has been collected. Continuity printed these but did so for newsstand distribution which means unsold copies were destroyed. If you are a fan of Mark Beachum, I would consider it a must have for your collection, although the eroticism is not as overt as his more recent work. That makes finding this issue and this series a little more difficult, but not impossible. When you do find it, do not overpay for it. I would recommend not paying more than a dollar, especially given the cultural insignificance of this issue, and the relative lack of demand for it. Heck, depending on the quality of a comic shop or convention dealer’s stock, you may be able to find it for a quarter or cheaper.

FINAL RATING: 6 (out of a possible 10)

It’s well drawn, but horribly colored. The story is unremarkable, but engaging nonetheless. It’s an absolutely average comic book after everything is taken into consideration, but the art is the heavy lifter on this book.