Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Power Lords #1 (December, 1983)

I have a certain nostalgic fondness for the Power Lords and their perceived potential, even if the toys and concept were actually pretty shitty. When I found a set of their long forgotten three issue DC Comics mini-series on sale for $1.50, I figured, why not? The creative team was surprisingly good, being a pre-Hex outing by Michael (The Spectre) Fleisher and Mark (Wolverine) Texeira. I will always love Tex, as evidenced by all the crap books I've bought with his art, dating back to at least Psi-Force and including this.

Things started out well enough, with the alien heroine Shaya flying a "space sled" through the black vacuum. She was trying to evade a Trigore Squadron, "mutant intergalactic scavengers" who looked like green anteaters with tusks that shot lasers out of their snouts. A pack of them ran after Shaya through outer space, forcing her to make a desperate trek to Earth.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ivey at an observatory observed the strange emanations caused by this battle with his mysterious amnesiac assistant Adam. Ivey had an inexplicable faith in the unexplicated Adam, and left him alone that night to tend to the observatory. Adam had visions of terrible genocide on extraterrestrial worlds, and rushed outside when the space sled landed nearby.

The exiting Shaya knew exactly who and what Adam was, literally tugging Adam to her starcraft to exit Earth space before the Trigore Squadron caught up with them. Once in flight, Shaya reverted to her grody red-skinned natural Toranian form, and gave Adam a strange jewel to affix to his forehead, so he could become similarly gross, but in a shade of blue. Shaya revealed Adam was in truth an alien Power Lord, heir to the monarchy of Izah and Moira. Both had been murdered by the buggy Arkus the Dictator is a surprise assault, on which he was joined by Ggriptogg the Crusher and Raygoth, the "Goon of Doom." Against his will, Adam's memory had been wiped, and he was secreted on Earth by Shaya. This put Arkus out, because his overzealous goons weren't supposed to slaughter the royal family, at least until after they granted him access to their devastating weaponry.

Shaya flew to Volcan Rock, a roving Death Star and probable playset from which she meant to help Adam Power launch his counteroffensive. Thanks to his gem, Adam could become Lord Power, allowing him tricks like unaided space flight and energy projection. The latter was required to reactivate Volcan Rock, and after doing so, Adam and Shaya were ambushed by Ggriptogg and Raygoth. Adam managed to overpower (ba-dum-bump) the pair, but was disintegrated alongside Shaya by a stealthy Arkus.

For the opening chapter of a licensed property, Power Lords was strong, especially compared to most of DC's other attempts to catch the same lightning as Marvel's Conan/Star Wars/Micronauts/G.I. Joe./Transformers/etc. While the timeline here was screwy, Fleisher set up a reasonable framework to drive a series. The villains weren't well defined, but Adam's life on Earth seemed interesting. While Texeira has his obvious faults, his pages were fairly pretty, and his moody lighting gave these highly derivative events dramatic weight. A shame it would all go downhill from here...


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