Tuesday, December 7, 2021

One-Star Squadron #1 Review

One-Star Squadron #1 Review

One-Star Squadron #1 Review

It's Heroes For Hire by way of the Mystery Men

Written By: Mark Russell
Art By: Steve Lieber, Dave Stewart, and Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date:  December 7, 2021

One-Star Squadron #1 is a satirical look at a low-rent superhero agency populated with assorted characters from across the DC universe. Some you'll recognize, others will take a little memory jogging. When a former hero with no memory is dropped on the agency's doorstep (literally), Red Tornado takes it upon himself to help a hero out. Meanwhile, not every hero is happy with Red Tornado's management style.

Was It Good?

To set the stage upfront, this is satire. Technically, that means it's a comedy and should be funny. Whether or not you get even the slightest chuckles out of it is a matter of your humor tastes. This reviewer, however, struggled to keep my eyes from rolling out of my head and across the floor.

One-Star Squadron #1 Review

Russell takes a collection of better known (and a whole lot of lesser-known) DC characters and puts them in a "Heroes For Hire" type agency to pull this off. But instead of giving them problems meant to help a community in need, the characters are relegated to public appearances (birthday parties, business openings) and lots of telemarketing via sales calls and commercials.

I think Russell is trying absurdist humor by putting some of the most powerful heroes on the planet (Red Tornado, Power Girl, etc) in a low-class position, presumably betting that the contrast of extremes is somehow amusing. But, again, your humor tastes my find this material works for you. For others, it won't.

One-Star Squadron #1 Review

The central plot revolves around an aged, and memory-deficient Gangbuster dropped off at the agency for assistance. Red Tornado takes it upon himself to find Gangbuster's family or anyone who can care for him. Unfortunately, Gangbuster is in a bad state, possibly suffering from some form of PTSD or other trauma-inflicted mental incapacitation, and it makes every scene he's in feel somber. There's some genuine drama around Gangbuster's predicament. While that may have been an intriguing story on its own, the juxtaposition of Gangbuster's depressingly sad situation with the cartoonishly wacky tone of the heroes agency feels like there are two separate comics mushed together, creating a tonally imbalanced issue.

The art is generally okay. Again, the comic goes for extreme contrast, so all the characters look like average Joes/Janes wearing their traditional hero costumes. The art is rendered to make it feel like you're attending a costume party. However, the art suits the story's tone, so this first issue is at least consistent on that count.

Bits and Pieces

One-Star Squadron #1 re-imagines some of DC's most powerful superheroes as a collection of losers working at a superhero agency for hire. Unfortunately, while the creators were going for absurdist satire via extreme contrast between the heroes and their situation, the only thing extreme about this issue is how corny, unfunny, and tonally inconsistent it turned out.


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