"All Time Comics: Atlas" #1 from Fantagraphics Books -
Years ago, Johnny Rammond, a city planner, stumbled onto ancient technology that gave him anti-matter-based powers beyond his wildest dreams. As Atlas, Earth's mightiest hero, he takes on all threats to keep the people safe, especially those of his beloved home, Optic City. This time, Atlas is on the trail of a beloved congressman, secretly a powerful super-villain, who is planning to funnel city funds into a vile project to help him achieve his own diabolical ends: world domination. When Atlas attacks the congressmen at a political gathering, the people turn against Atlas, which saps his ability to use his powers. While Atlas cools his heels in jail, the wicked congressman's plot steams ahead, and the two people that Atlas loves most in the world, his best friend, Tobey, and the woman he adores, Suzi, end up directly in danger's menacing crosshairs. Can Atlas recover in time to stop this perverse and poisonous politician, or are the lives of his loved ones forfeit and the world doomed forever?
Josh Bayer and Ben Marra come together to concoct this very wild, very violent superhero story in "All Time Comics: Atlas" #1. This thrilling little throwback is what would happen if the Silver Age DC Comics Universe had an illicit affair with underground comix of the late 60s and early 70s. What Bayer and Marra have created is a world that resembles Silver Age DC, but here, the villains have gone morals off and no one is safe. It's a place where superheroes don't back down from a fight, nor do they fear to meet deadly force with deadly force. They also have no qualms about serving the bad guys up their just desserts if they deem it right to do so. At first, you notice all the hokey, silliness in the story that made the Silver Age such good fun, but things get dark and hectic pretty quickly as they story careens wildly out of control. Sometimes the hero fails, sometimes the good guys lose, not every innocent is going to be rescued, and neither the hero nor his inner circle are immune to suffering. Ben Marra pulls double duty as co-writer and artist, and his art does shine. It's got that quirky underground comix feel to it - but when you pair it up with Matt Rota's expert colors, you've got a book that looks great, sitting squarely somewhere between grotesque and brilliant. And, it's all printed on that classic newsprint, sorry, no glossy pages here; however it does have some wild retro ads, and an insane pin-up meant to be taken out of the book and slapped up on a wall. So cool. $3.99 is still the price, even with cheaper materials, but I didn't find that problematic because the first issue is pretty thick, and the story feels complete. "All Time Comics: Atlas" #1 is just a crazy ride and a Ferris wheel of fun. I can't believe I am digging this. Crazy, man, crazy.
RATING: 9 out of 10 for silly pseudo-Silver Age fun with a dark twist.
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