Sequential Thoughts #2

In this episode of Sequential Thoughts, I review the first two issues of a new limited series that I’ve had my eye on since it was first announced…The Fox!

Plot and Line Art By: Dean Haspiel
Script By: Mark Waid
Colored By: Allen Passalaqua
Published By: Red Circle Comics


This is a new take on an old character, but that’s not important. I had no knowledge of any character called The Fox before reading this and didn’t need it. What is important are three basic ideas…

  1. Paul Patton is a photo-journalist who always had trouble finding “The Story”.
  2. He got the idea to give himself a second identity as a “crime fighter” (read: no powers) so “The Story” would come to him.
  3. Now he finds himself a non-stop magnet for every freak in Impact City!
Nice, simple premise around which a fun ongoing story could be built. So the big question, of course, is did they succeed? Well, I would say mostly.
The first issue worked well enough as an introduction to The Fox and his world. We get a weird villain right off the bat, mention of a greater evil afoot in the city, and just when I thought I knew how the story was going to precede, a nice offbeat curveball at the end. Not much time is spent on Paul’s wife and daughter, but one page sets up the feeling that there will be a family element to the story as it develops. I love the design of The Fox with its simple costume and floppy eared mask and the main action scene was really fun.

Mark Waid scripts Dean Haspiel’s story and art here. I am a huge fan of Mark Waid and his work here is solid overall, but I am not a fan of throwing current pop culture references and commentary into stories, which he does here in one instance. I always feel like it instantly dates a book and I prefer the comics I enjoy feeling as timeless as possible (modern devices notwithstanding).  Haspiel’s art style is great for the tone of the book, but I did feel like the quality of the art was a little inconsistent, especially in the faces.
The six page backup story didn’t really do much to advance the character other than to soapbox a little about Paul’s preference for old school photography over digital technology. I didn’t really care. It felt like padding to me and would rather have had more pages of the main story.

Following the left turn in the last panel of #1, the second issue seems to really get the main story of this five issue series in motion.  What started as a street level pulp action tale now becomes a star spanning story of a very weird, somewhat psychedelic nature. Haspiel puts The Fox in a position where he must go to a far off planet and attempt to rescue all of the other pulp heroes from Earth who were sent to attempt this mission before him.
On a distant world that looks like a really pretty chemically induced hallucination, The Fox comes face to face with all of his fears and insecurities in a nicely sequenced action scene. Waid has a lot (and I mean A LOT!) of fun with a twisted version of English dialogue coming from the enchanting alien Queen of Diamonds who sends The Fox on his mission. If you have a love of intelligent goofiness, you will enjoy reading it as much as I did! The execution of storytelling was great in this issue, having just the right amount of action, story development, and unexpected surprises. I thought the artwork was improved here from the first issue and major kudos to colorist Allen Passalaqua for some stunning color choices and effects throughout.

The six page backup story in this issue veers away from The Fox and begins a story of another Red Circle super-hero, The Shield. Writer J.M. DeMatteis has The Shield relating a past adventure of his during World War II to his unusual friends. The art team of Mike Cavallaro and Terry Austin really suit the subject matter well and a whole lot of action is packed into a short space here, setting up a showdown of The Shield against his super powered counterparts from Germany and Japan. I’m hooked.
I was on the fence about this project after the first issue, but after the second I am positively looking forward to following this series to its conclusion. Sometimes books take a couple of issues to find their feet, but The Fox now seems headed in the right direction.

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One Thought to “Sequential Thoughts #2”

  1. As I mentioned, I'll be waiting on a trade of this one but didn't want to wait longer to read this review. Great job and it looks like I have something good to look forward to.

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