Thursday, 11 August 2016

Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6 - Marvel Comics

As swansong editions go, especially those based upon the exploits of a (field) team of super-heroes, Frank J. Barbiere’s narrative for Issue Six of “Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is frustratingly far more focussed upon the exploits of missing member Orrgo than the other nine “ragtag group of monsters”. Indeed, the script for the twenty-page action-packed periodical is so obsessed with the thirty foot tall extra-terrestrial “space god” that its terribly abrupt finish unexpectedly arrives just as team leader Dum Dum Duggan is contemplating his squad ‘mouth-wateringly’ having to confront both the entirety of Pleasant Hill’s villainous escapees, as well all “the prisoners of S.T.A.K.E.” Doctor Kraye has recently released…

So infuriating a conclusion doubtless vexed many of this title’s 12,700 readers, particularly when its publishers had ‘forewarned’ both the public and presumably the book’s creative team of the series’ (stealth) cancellation as early as January 2016, by failing to include “the lowest selling Marvel All-New All-Different book of December” in its solicitation listings, and thus given its American author plenty of time to reconcile his story-arc’s numerous plot threads. Sadly however, such prudence simply isn’t evident in the former English teacher’s writing, with the choppy script sporadically leaping between Orrogo’s innermost desire to be accepted, and his team-mates’ impotent attack upon the young sentient Cosmic Cube, Kubik; “Orrgo has been many things… Been to many places… But what you did, it was not real. My real family… The Howling Commandos… Has come to me.”

Admittedly the contents of “Standoff” form an integral part of the “Marvel Comics” multi-title comic book event “Avenger: Standoff!”, and therefore by its very nature needs to leave plenty of sequences open to exploitation by other series, such as “Captain America: Sam Wilson”. But even so, one would have thought that Barbiere could have created a more satisfying conclusion to his magazine than a patronizing pretence in the letters page, “Going Commando”, thanking his “humble readers, for joining us on this adventure.”

Perhaps equally as disillusioned with the abolition of this “four-coloured battlefield”, Brent Schoonover’s inconsistent pencilling is arguably a far cry from the “talented” artwork his co-collaborator intimates he submits before each deadline. In fact, apart from a seemingly Jack Kirby-inspired double-splash depicting Orrogo first coming to Earth and being beaten up by a gigantic circus gorilla, as well as the Grey Gargoyle being bested by Teen Abomination, the Freelancer’s disappointing breakdowns appear lifelessly static and inanimately wooden at best…
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere, Art: Brent Schoonover, and Color Art: Nick Filardi

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