Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One Final Fight for the Equalizer in KEVIN KELLER #15!

The KEVIN KELLER comic book series was a trailblazer. Starring Archie Comics' first gay teen, this series featured Archie Comics' first same-sex crush, their first same-sex love triangle, their first same-sex smooch, and their first same-sex break-up. The company seemed to struggle with how far they wanted to go with this character, especially during the first six or seven issues of this series.

It always seemed like that liked having a gay character for public relations events like GLAAD's Spirit Day and Dan Savage's It Gets Better campaign. But it took them a while to realize that they could figure out a way to spice up Kevin -- if only in a G-rated manner -- and let him be an actual gay teen with the same types of dating misadventures that seem to plague the rest of Riverdale! By that time, the book had lost some steam and readership.

As a result, KEVIN KELLER has been canceled -- though we've been promised a relaunch in 2015. Dan Parent has said that this new series will feature a slightly older version of Kevin Keller. My hunch is that we will see more dating and PDAs in this new series -- as well as the possible introduction of Clay Walker and the army adventures of Private Keller! That's all conjecture on my part, but I think it would be cool!

The final issue of the series -- KEVIN KELLER #15 -- was released last Wednesday. It's a follow-up to last issue's introduction of the Equalizer! The Equalizer is a super-hero identity that Veronica designed for Kevin. Basically, I think she wanted an accessory for her own Power Teen identity! But she got him a costume, and a secret crime-laboratory, and a sexy manservant, and a bunch of gadgets. So that's how Riverdale got its newest superhero!

Of course, Riverdale doesn't have a lot of crime so there's not much for the Equalizer to do except moon over Tony. But his costume and gadgets come in handy one night when Kevin's friend Wendy finds herself struggling with an overly grabby date. The Equalizer saves the night, but then discovers one of the biggest problems about fighting crime in a small-town:


That's right. Wendy recognized his voice. Not only does she reveal his secret identity, but she reveals his secret identity loud enough for the Equalizer's victim to overhear.

The next day, somebody steals a bit of DNA from Kevin's soda and creates a teenage clone of Kevin with superhuman strength and a bad attitude. The clone begins causing trouble in Riverdale:


Power Teen eventually joins the battle and the Equalizer barely defeats his new enemy:


This whole "Nivek" story seems to have missed a step and I can't help wondering if there was a third chapter to his storyline that ended up getting snipped due to the book's cancellation. I mean, who created Nivek? The guy who stole Kevin's DNA didn't look like Wendy's date who discovered the Equalizer's secret I.D. And who has the knowledge needed to create a superstrong teenage clone within days? Dilton? Salem? Or possibly Tony the manservant??

I'm hoping that Nivek shows up again in the new KEVIN KELLER relaunch. It's not that I want to see tons of him in the future. But I definitely would like a little bit of explanation and resolution.

"Holding Out For A Hero" is written & penciled by Dan Parent, inked by Rich Koslowski, and lettered by Jack Morelli. This issue might be the closing of a chapter for Kevin Keller, but I'm excited to see what new adventures he'll encounter in the months to come.

1 comment:

Anthony said...

Yeah, that seemed like *quite* a cliffhanger/dangling plot thread to end on...there's an evil super-strong version of Kevin running around? Would think that'd be resolved before axing the book...

Still, I enjoyed "Kevin Keller," and hope he gets used again in the future...