Retro Review: American Flagg #1

In honor of the fourth of July, my retro review this week is of; American Flagg! # 1, which was published by First Comics, with a cover date of October 1983.  The cover was produced by the writer and artist of the comic, Howard Chaykin.  And as Jim has already shown the cover to the first issue in his American flag covers post recently, I’m including the cover to the second issue here in my review.

Chaykin had been absent from comics for a little while before jumping back into the comic forefront with the publication of this new comic.  At the time, First Comic’s President, Mike Gold, said that Howard Ghaykin is one of the most patriotic persons he knows.  “Not the usual Love it or Leave it nonsense that serves to divide instead of unite, and is therefore not patriotic. Howard’s patriotism comes from pride – and from great hopes for America.  So amid all the violence and women, amidst all the style we have come to associate with Howard’s work, you’re going to find a great deal of patriotism in American Flagg.”  So what better comic to review over the Fouth of July weekend!

The story is entitled; “Hard Times” and takes place in a possible future America, one not that far from the year 1983 when this comic premiered.  The setting is “The Plex”, formerly Chicago, Illinois and the date is Saturday, October 4, 2031.  It appears that The Plex is run by violence, sex and money.  Anything and everything is for sale, at the right price!  ANd available to the viewing public, as well.

Chaykin introduces us to the characters in his comic, Chief Ranger Hilton Krieger, his daughter, Mandy, also Gretchen Holstrum, Hostess (i.e.madam) at the local Love Canal franchise.  As well as, the hero of the comic, Ruben Flagg, formerly the actor, starring in the television show, Mark Thrust, Sexus Ranger.  “The provocative adventures of a fearless vice cop walking the mean streets of an unnamed, untamed and sexually disease riddled sector of a great urban metroplex.”

Before the the comic reaches double digets in pages, Flagg is thrown into battle with a local Gogang, an anarchist terrorist motorcyle club, then has a sexual tryst with Ms. Holstrum.  So we know right away, this is not our father’s comic book!  He meets the mayor of The Plex and settles into his first week on the job.  We also learn that his tour of duty is to be five years!

He meets Raul, a talking cat, and discovers that the favorite local show is Bob Violence. He soon discovers that only he and the cat, Raul, can see that the show is riddled with hypnotic subliminal commands to kill, multilate and rape etc.  Before the first issue comes to a close, Flagg makes a deal with the leader of one of the Gogangs, breaks the deal and imprisons the Gogang leader and puts a stop to the Bob Violence show, with the help of Mandy!

Not a bad begining to a new series!  I know it made me want to pick uo the next issue, as it lead off with a bang and left you wanting more.  What more could you want for a new comic book series?  I give it four (4) out of five (5) Legion flight rings!

About Greg Turner

Greg Turner (@gregturner16) is Back to the Past’s archivist and an auctioneer. He writes the columns “Fabulous Finds” and “Retro Reviews” on alternating weeks for the website and spins classic 45′s each week for Vinyl Tuesdays.

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