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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My Collection - ICON [1993 Series]

Icon [1993 series]
42 issues [1993 - 1997]
1 - 42

On average probably the best of Milestone's titles, though initially I thought it was the weakest of their launch titles. It probably helped that it had the most consistent creative team, with Dwayne McDuffie and Mark Bright sticking around from the first issue to the last, with a minimum of fill-ins (only five issues aren't written by one of those two).

My initial interest in the Milestone line was that it was Denys Cowan's big project a few years after his work on THE QUESTION, which was a favourite. I wasn't at the time familiar with most of the other creators involved, but the characters looked good and the books were fairly inexpensive. While they had some rough spots, all of them were entertaining enough to keep picking up.

As I said, ICON was initially my least favourite of the books, although I did enjoy it. It took a while for it to get around to the point where we find out that the main character was the sidekick, Rocket, rather than the big guy with the cape. It gradually got better, pretty soon was my favourite of the books in the line (others of which got worse, but more on that later). I also thought that this book did the best job of integrating guest bits of the rest of the Milestone characters and handling the occasional crossovers.

Unfortunately later in the series there were a few scheduling problems, with long gaps between issues, and it was eventually cancelled in the middle of a storyline. I guess getting on to a decade later it's time to give up the hope that it'll ever be finished.

Still, despite the lack of an ending, well worth seeking out, and back issues are pretty affordable, as is the one collection of the first 8 issues.

Notable bits:

#13 is a guilty pleasure, but probably my favourite issue, featuring the debut of Buck Wild, Mercenary Man, an absurd but oddly endearing parody of 1970s "blaxploitation", one comic character in particular. He appeared a few more times (including uttering the immortal line "I refuse to be held down by the White Man's gravity"), up to his funeral in #30, a great finale.

#42 wisely took a break from the unfinished storyline to present another funeral for what became the final issue, and it's really a brilliant story, much better than it has a right to be. You'd think that injecting the unreality of a super-heroic universe into the real world concerns would cheapen it, but somehow it all comes together nicely here.

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