O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
There are a lot of cool comic book blogs out there (see our sidebar for a list of a bunch of them), but I guess it is hard to pick which ones you think you’d like to read. So each week, I will feature a guest entry by a really cool comic blogger, and you all can then check out that comic blog after you see how cool they are from their guest bit. Today’s entry comes from Jake Bell, of Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge, a fun blog where Jake basically just has fun talking about comics and comic-related stuff, mostly by taking a humorous look at older comic books. Occasionally, some of Jake’s friends even post!
For his guest entry, Will is sharing with us his thoughts on Now Comics’ 1993 release, Mr. T and the T-Force.
To select one single thing that was wrong with Mr. T and the T-Force would be like trying to nail down one thing that made Pol Pot’s reign a negative experience for most Cambodians. However, as with most travesties, there is always one point where the scales tipped beyond a point of being able to backtrack, like the attack on Pearl Harbor forcing the United States into a war it had vowed not to enter.
The comic was pitched as a refreshing alternative to tales both of fantastical, superpowered beings and of gritty, guns-blazing vigilante anti-heroes. Now Comics and Mr. T both were on message whenever discussing their upcoming comic co-venture, insisting they would be telling real stories about life in the ghetto. Now Comics’ website refers to Mr. T as “the comic world’s only real-life hero.” The difference between this book and others would be that Mr. T is a real person who is out to do the right thing even though he didn’t have superpowers and faced real danger of injury or even death.
Mr. T and the T-Force wasted no time in reaching that aforementioned point of no return, ruining the entire pitch that had been fed to fandom as part of “the largest media blitz in [Now]’s history” within the first two pages and going nowhere but down from there.
That’s the decidedly non-superpowered Mr. T smashing a car’s front end with his fist so hard that the hood crumples like aluminum foil and the engine breaks into pieces that go flying in various directions like a porcelain “Precious Moments” figurine dropped on a tile floor. A page later, we see the damage is even greater than we might have originally guessed.
For the record, Mr. T insists these stories are based on his personal experiences. Which raises the question of when he personally stepped in front of a car while it was driving down the street and punched it hard enough to shatter the front axle.
Making quick work of the four drug dealing thugs in the car using his “lightning fists” and Neal Adams’s seeming inability to remember where he drew people standing two panels earlier, Mr. T is attacked from behind by their boss and some of his more heavily armed muscle. While T isn’t looking, the bad guy jabs him with some kind of modified cattle prod spear, jolting the hero with enough amperage to make his entire body glow blue.
This turns the tables for almost four seconds.
Mr. T gets back to his feet, grabs one guy’s gun by the barrel, and uses it to smash in his face, all while video taping a confession by the leader. When the drug dealer realizes T has a video camera, he orders the remaining thug to take care of the situation.
With both his bodyguards down and possibly dead and facing the man who has destroyed a sedan with one punch and bent an M-16 one-handed, the drug dealer goes to Old Reliable, his cattle prod spear only to learn a valuable lesson.
“Electrocute me once, shame on you; electrocute me twice, I’ll absorb the electricity and use my body as a conduit to turn the charge on you with such force it will blast you backward twenty feet.”
Having accomplished all this with the shear force of a positive state of mind and walking away without a scratch, Mr. T goes off on his next mission, pursuing the sound of a baby crying. He tracks it to a dumpster outside–I kid you not–Neal Adam’s Continuity Studios, inside of which he finds…
… in his own words, “A crack baby, fool!”
Mr. T takes a few pages to explain that drugs are bad, crime is bad, babies are good, and crack is bad for babies, after which he gets back to those common, every day tasks non-superpowered people like you and I encounter every day like fighting twenty-foot tall Mayan warriors with machine guns…
… and, if this subscription ad is any indicator, duking it out with either aliens or demons.
Future issues of Mr. T and the T-Force dealt with other common man problems like bands of ninjas who rob skyscraper penthouse bank vaults, rocket launcher-wielding car thieves who drive monster trucks with metal jaws on the front, and neighborhoods so united against a boxer getting his shot at a championship belt that the people would resort to killing him if necessary to keep him out of the ring.
You know, a typical Tuesday for you and me…
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