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CSBG Archive

Into the back issue box #38

Rob Liefeld’s evil influence spreads … can we ever escape it?

(It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so check out the ground rules for these posts here.)

Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #25 (“Reunions”) by Gregory Wright, Steven Butler, and Pam Eklund.  Published by Marvel, June 1994.

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This is a “giant-sized 25 spectacular,” as you can see by the cover, which means it costs 2 dollars and is packed with extra pages for you to enjoy the really weird Steven Butler art and too-big-for-its-britches Gregory Wright story.  I will say this about the comic: Wright wouldn’t know what “decompression” is if it reared up and bit him on the ass, because this sucker is chock full of plot developments, characters, and big-time action.  This would be a whole year of Bendis comics if he decided to revive Silver Sable (no, that’s not a suggestion, Bendis … Bendis, did you hear me? damn – sorry, folks, he’s off to revive Silver Sable!).  So let’s break it down!  If you foolishly picked this comic up as your first-ever purchase, would you run screaming to the hills or dive right into the darkness of our habit?

On the first page, after we learn that Silver has been “relentlessly trained in multiple forms of combat,” that she inherited her father’s “professional soldier unit, the Wild Pack,” that she founded “Silver Sable International, the ultimate mercenary force,” and that she is the “leader of her beloved homeland, Symkaria,” we see some dude taking his helmet off and warning Silver that she should have stayed out of the affairs of the Genesis Coalition.  When the helmet comes off, Silver whispers “Father,” and on the next page, we get the splash page, with Silver staring at a white-haired gentleman with a moustache wearing a ridiculous battle suit.  How ridiculous?  Well, Butler doesn’t give us a good look at it on this page, but we’ll get back to it.  We switch to Bosnia, where U. S. troops are being attacked by “what appear to be” Hydra stormtroopers, with Bosnian officials denying any involvement with the terrorists.  As one of the brave Americans says, “We ain’t equipped to deal with Hydra!“  Wow – cowardly and grammatically ignorant.  Good stuff!  On the next page, we see Baron von Strucker, who has a huge red cybernetic claw where his right arm ought to be.  Man, the Nineties rocked!  He’s a bit miffed because Hydra is NOT behind the attacks, and it must be the work of the “accursed Genesis Coalition!”  Some flunkie suggests that if Hydra intervened and helped stop the Genesis Coalition … and the baron thinks it’s a great idea, because it will make them look like heroes while still masking their true intentions.  I’m surprised von Strucker didn’t say, “I’m glad I thought of that!” while the flunkie watches, all sad because he doesn’t get any credit.

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Back to Silver, where we learn that it’s not actually her father, but her uncle Fritz.  (As a side note, Silver’s father is named Ernst.  According to the Marvel Atlas Project, Symkaria is right next to Latveria, just south of Hungary.  Why do the brothers have German first names?  The family name is Sablinovia, which is a fine Slavic name, which makes the first names even more interesting.  Is there any explanation for this?  If the family is Slavic, giving the kids German first names would probably not go over very well.  I think about weird crap too much, don’t I?)  He tells her some convoluted story about her father’s murder at the hands of some guy named Trefkov and how he planned to get captured by Hydra and delivered to Trefkov because he never found her father’s body and he wanted to find out what happened.  After months of torture (which includes an odd sadomasochist gay porn panel – right in a Marvel comic!), he decided something: “I came up with the plan for Trefkov to form the Genesis Coalition.  We would infiltrate the Nazi horror of Baron von Strucker’s Hydra and steal from their ranks, waiting for our chance to obliterate them … only to take their place.  Unknown to any, I was already sowing the seeds of destruction to the very organization I was creating from the inside!“  That sounds really complicated.  He is creating an organization that will infiltrate another organization, take it over, and then he would destroy the first organization.  Interestingly enough, Fritz never tells us how exactly he would destroy the Genesis Coalition once its objective had been achieved.  Oh well.  He tells Silver that he’s on the verge of destroying Hydra with this action in Bosnia, because the world will retaliate against the real Hydra.  Meanwhile, he puts his helmet back on and we get to see his costume in all its Liefeldian glory:

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He has the ubiquitous codpiece and the strange coils that don’t seem to serve any purpose.  Shockingly enough, he doesn’t have pouches around his thighs, but the black Captain America dude behind him (who’s called “Battle Star”) does, so that’s okay:

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Silver doesn’t think much of this plan, but we’ll get back to that.  The Genesis Coalition dude they’ve subdued gets to his feet just as foot soldiers burst in, and then we get a brief fight.  Fritz shoots energy from his hand (it’s a comic book, so of course his armor can do that), Battle Star swats people aside like they’re gnats (happily exclaiming that “it’s been a while” since he “even broke a sweat!“) and Silver jumps around kicking people in the face.  She grabs the bad guy (who’s called Dmitri) and tells him he’s in trouble for making her believe her father was dead (which must have happened last issue), but as he begins to say he wasn’t lying about that, Fritz grabs his hair and completely fries the skin off of his skull.  Would I lie?

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Silver gets pissed at this, and then gets even more peeved when Fritz tells her he needs to take her and the Wild Pack into custody to keep up the illusion that he’s still working with Trefkov.  She finally agrees and lets the rest of her group know that they’re going into the belly of the beast.  We get a brief shot of the rest of the group, which includes Sandman and Paladin and some dude we later learn is called Fin (he has a fin on his head, after all) and some tiger dude and a chick with long dreads who I think might be Monica Rambeau.  She has a blue costume with a gold star on the front, and later we see her briefly flying around with energy all around her.  I guess it doesn’t really matter, because she has one line in the entire book and only appears in two panels.  Anyway, Silver and her bunch are transported to a submarine in the Black Sea, where Trefkov imprisons them.  Trefkov’s speech patterns are awesome:

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He explains that Hydra will show up in Bosnia and fight S.H.I.E.L.D. and the U. S. military, which will destroy them all.  How dastardly!  Just at that moment, Nick Fury shows up to save the day (remember, the regular U. S. troops are cowering in their foxholes), but he doesn’t believe it’s a regular Hydra operation.  At the same time, von Strucker shows up with “his new strike team, System Crash” (oh how I wish I were kidding about that name) and they prepare to take the imposters to school!  This confuses the soldiers, of course, because they don’t know why Hydra is helping them.  Fury wants to check this out, naturally.

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Back in the submarine, Silver is rescued by a Genesis Coalition soldier who suddenly blasts his two comrades and lets them out of their cell.  Their rescuer turns out to be the Foreigner, who was once married to Silver.  She claims that she knew he was there because she would never have allowed herself to be taken unless she had a way out, but it seems kind of random.  Even though they hate each other, they agree to work together to get out of their pickle.  So there’s some more bashing, and then Basil (the Foreigner’s real name; his mama didn’t name him “Foreigner,” you know – she was a fan of “Juke Box Hero,” but not that big a fan!) shows Silver that her father is actually alive, hooked up to some sort of comic-book machine while they drain him of all his secrets and strategies.  Instead of being grateful that she’s rescuing him, he says “Quiet, child!  Emotion makes you sloppy!“  Yeah, well, maybe she’ll just leave you there, you crotchety old goat!  Silver takes her dad off the sub and then blows it up.  She heads for Trefkov’s battle cruiser, which is hanging out over Bosnia as he watches the carnage below.  Fritz is a bit put out that Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. aren’t killing each other, and he goes all Scooby-Doo villain on us: “We would have destroyed you if it weren’t for Silver Sable and the intruders!”  Silver tells her team, who has shown up in Bosnia, to let Hydra go, and von Strucker decides to hightail it as well instead of turning on his “allies,” much to the consternation of Fury, who wants to bash some Hydra heads!  Silver, meanwhile, lands on the battle cruiser and goes after Trefkov, ready to dispense some Symkarian justice!

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She bashes him for a while, and then turns his own knife against him.  According to her, she’s never killed in cold blood before, and even though she has waited years for this moment, it changes nothing.  Fritz, meanwhile, arrives and freaks out because they could have destroyed Hydra but she ruined it by showing up and killing Trefkov.  She tells him that “Father would never have planned an operation such as this, doomed to failure!” and he wouldn’t have sacrificed the beliefs for which he fought.  She wants to help him, but before she can, the Foreigner shoots him in the back.  Man, that’s a mistake.  You know how I’m allowed to make fun of my mother but you’re not?  Well, apparently that holds true for shooting family members too.  Who knew?  Silver is about to kill Basil but she decides to let him go.  It’s all over but the shouting, and she shares a tender moment with her father back in Symkaria as he recovers, and all’s right in the world.  Awww!

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Man!  Like I said, this is packed.  40 pages of non-stop action, most of it pretty darned silly.  I don’t quite get why Silver is so angry at Fritz’s plan, though.  It seems pretty solid if terribly convoluted.  His Genesis Coalition doesn’t have to do anything, and Hydra, which I think we can all agree is pretty evil, gets wiped out.  According to Dmitri, the Genesis Coalition has outgrown him and he won’t be able to take it down so easily, but it’s not like he knew that, and even if it’s true, at least Hydra would be gone, and maybe it would take a while for the Genesis Coalition to be as strong as Hydra was.  It’s really never clear why Silver is so opposed to it.  I guess that gets in the way of all the action – Silver wouldn’t be kicking so much ass if she actually agreed with Fritz!

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As a story, this does its job.  We know exactly what is happening and why, the characters are clearly introduced, and even though it’s a continuation of a longer story, we don’t feel too out of it.  That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a pretty crappy book, with silly dialogue and obnoxious Image-y art that is so ridiculously busy it might give you a seizure.  Everyone has those big shoulder pads and pouches all over their costume and big hair, and they all grimace so very seriously all the time.  It’s obvious that Butler knows how to draw, and it’s just a shame that he, like so many of his peers, got caught in the early 1990s trend of making the art in comics as goofy and ugly as possible.  Sigh.

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So that’s the 25th issue of Silver Sable.  I don’t think it would really cause someone to come back and read more comics.  It’s not a terribly good example of what comics can do.  I kind of wish that Silver had used that sword on the cover.  That might have been something!

13 Comments

Man is that art ever 90s-horrible.

Sometimes I think it would be better to eat these comics than read them.

90′s,90′s !!!

Even Sandman got a costume with 2 left sleeves for his 2nd sand arm. LOL!

I’d say the armor is Larsenian & not Liefieldian hehehe!!

Couldn’t take it. Had to start hitting “PgDn” about a third of the way down, skimming through this stupid plot more and more quickly as it went along…

“Rob Liefeld’s evil influence”?

I see feet.

Let’s not forget the trend of girls having jackets with the sleeves rolled up and head bands.

You’ll all be sorry when Marvel releases Essential Silver Sable Vol. 1 in about 10 years. The release of the Dazzler Essential this year should prove that every comic was someone’s favorite once, and that given enough time irony, nostalgia, and curiosity can make anything a classic.

It’s perfectly normal for the family to have a combination of a German name and Slavic surname. That area of Central Europe was pretty much swapped every two years or so between Austria-Hungary and whichever German baron was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in between the Middle Ages and the 19th Century, so the combination is nothing weird.

I’ve met an Hungarian with a German last name (Zsolt Baumgartner), and I know of several Germans and Austrians with Slavic names (racing drivers Martin Tomczyk, Manfred Jurasz and music producers Andreas Bialek, Adrian Misiewicz).

Sorry, PC but you’re not right. It isn’t common in Central and Eastern-Europe to have a German first name and a Slavic surname. It is very common as your examples show it to have e.g. Hungarian first name (Zsolt) and German family name (Baumgartner) or German first name (Martin) and slavic surname. (Tomczyk)
But the first name is always indicative of your nationality and the surname tells the world what nation your ancestors belonged to.

BTW, are you a motor racing fan? Zsolt Baumgartner is a F-1 driver, too.

But what about the Lil Sylvie story promised on the cover? That could be entertaining (although that’s giving it the benefit of the doubt).

That cover is funny in its incongruity–Sable holding a fencing sword in front of a wall full of guns. I wonder if that was intentional.

The L’il Sylvie story was mildly entertaing, Dan. I just figured I had gone on long enough. Ironically, it was written and drawn by the same people and was a better story and looked better.

Sorry, Fisk, maybe I wasn’t clear enough.

Of course the first name is an indication of nationality, but what I meant to say is that combining a German first name with a Slavic surname, or vice-versa, in itself, is not out of ordinary for Central European countries.

What that makes unclear is whether Symkaria is a Germanic or Slavic nation. Since I’ve only read one issue of Silver Sable once, I’m not sure which it is (being a fictional nation probably doesn’t help). If it’s the latter, of course having German first names is wrong.

Yes, I am a motorsports fan.

Now we agree on everything.
If Symkaria is a Germanic nation the name is okay. But it is located south of Hungary where there are no Germanic countries just Slavic. But now I think too much…:)

Off: you know Gabor Talmacsi?

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