Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Fox Hunt Concludes in THE FOX #5!

I've been enjoying the latest series featuring THE FOX. This is a superhero series published as part of Archie Comics Dark Circle imprint. It features Paul Patton, Jr. He's a reluctant superhero who would love to retire his tights. Unfortunately, he's become some sort of "freak magnet." In other words, he keeps trying to avoid trouble, but trouble keeps seeking him out! His latest adventure features a rich corporate baddie by the name of Mister Smile. Mister Smile has put a $1 million bounty on the Fox's head, which means that all sorts of super villains are out to get him. What's made it worse is that Patton's son Shinji has unveiled his own Ghost Fox costumed identity -- and managed to get captured in the process.

Did I mention that Patton's wife Mae also has a costumed identity? She's sometimes known as the She-Fox. I kind of feel bad that I've barely mentioned Mae before now.

Anyway, the Fox Hunt ends with THE FOX #5. This is the big battle where the Fox confronts Mister Smile and one of the three Patton members is faced with the ultimate decision necessary to end this conflict. Ultimately, Patton realizes that he cannot retire. Bad things continue happening in Impact City and someone needs to be there to make things better -- at least until Ghost Fox gets ungrounded!

One of the things that I've most enjoyed about this "Fox Hunt" storyline is the return of several obscure MLJ/Red Circle villains! I'm sure that most of you have never heard of things characters. And while some of them are pretty lame (both in terms of costume and powers), but some are really cool! Here are the latest villains that the Fox and She-Fox had to contend with in Issue #5:

Lodestone is a super villain with magnetic powers who's battled the Mighty Crusaders. He has a history of being a member of the Eliminators (along with Dream-Demon from Issue #1 and Brontosaurus from Issue #2).

Mighty Man is a former college professor who's acquired superhuman strength.

Radiation Rogue is a scientist who became accidentally irradiated. He now has to wear a protective suit to shield others from harm -- except when he's firing bolts of radioactive energy!

Dragonfly is a martial artist who belongs to some nefarious organization called PERIL. She's mainly tangled with the Shield before now.

And then there is Bull Frog. He is a former opera singer who got fired after attacking a stagehand and his pet bullfrog (seriously). After that, he made the next logical career adjustment -- he began wearing a giant bullfrog costume and killing people! He's an opponent of my favorite: the Hangman!

This entire collection of villains (from Issues #1-5) have been an interesting mix. Some date back to the 1940s. Some date back to the 1980's. One dates back two years. But most of them are crazy wild!

I mentioned in my last piece that Mister Smile appears to be creating his own costumed identity. This is where he makes his costumed debut as Iron Fox! (Doesn't he look like something out of Image Comics??) It seems that Mister Smile has been obsessed with the Fox for a long time. His goal all along has been to track down the Fox -- and replace him with his new identity and power-suit.

I'll leave it up to you to pick up your copy of THE FOX #5 to see if THE FOX #6 will feature Paul Patton or Mister Smile.

Lastly, there is another super-villain appearance in this book. It's Roxr, Ruler of the Vegetable Planet! Roxr has primarily been an opponent of the Fly. Archie Comics doesn't own the rights to the character, but it's good to see that they still own the rights to this cool member of the Anti-Fly League! Roxr is an alien from a planet of intelligent plants. He's not a fan of humanity, as you can see!

My understanding is that there will be a brief pause between this issue and Issue #6, where they will launch a new storyline. I really encourage you to check out your local comic book store and track down these issues while you have a chance. The writing is clever and the artwork rocks. Plus -- corny villains with awesome powers! -- for the most part. Seriously, check it out!

"I, Superhero" was written by Dean Haspiel & Mark Waid; with art by Dean Haspiel; lettering by Rachel Deering; and colors by Allen Passalaqua.

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