Strange Times & Places: Americomics feat. Charlton Heroes

Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where today we’re reviewing two comics that are rendered effectively an elseworld by the vagaries of copyrights and licensing – Americomics #3 and Americomics Special #1!

How’s It Different?

These stories were intended as continuations of the original Charlton Comics universe, originally composed for the second volume of Charlton Bullseye, but ended up effectively one-shots due to DC’s outright purchase of the characters. As such, they exist in Comic Book Limbo – not part of the Charlton AKA Pre-Crisis Earth 4 continuity, not part of AC Comics continuity, and certainly not relevant to anything DC’s done with the characters.

What’s The Story?

Americomics Special #1: The Sentinels of Justice (Captain Atom, Blue Beetle II, Nightshade, & The Question) band together to battle The Manipulator and his minions The Madmen, The Fiery Icer, Iron Arms, and The Banshee!

Americomics #3: The first story is a pretty nifty-if-bland yarn, but the second feature (“The Blue Beetle to Live Again”) is really interesting. It sees two gods resurrect Dan Garrett, the original Blue Beetle, for the second time! In this continuity, he would have been both the vitamin-powered Golden Age mystery man AND the Silver Age magical superhero…with the addition of being a Copper Age super soldier.

Best of Differences

  • Americomics Special #1 is, while not overly complex, a much better team up of the Charlton Action Heroes than the L.A.W. mini-series from the late 90s.
  • The idea behind the resurrection of Dan Garrett is a fun way get the character back in a way that doesn’t cheapen Ted Kord’s origin story too badly and acknowledges Blue Beetle’s oft-overlooked Golden Age roots.
  • Nightshade gets a redesign that ditches the schoolgirl vibe of her original outfit at the expense of being somewhat bland…but no blander than her Suicide Squad-era outfit.

Worst of Differences

  • The goddess who resurrects Dan Garrett (seen at right) is, I’m fairly certain, cribbed directly from a Jack Kirby design.
  • The Fiery-Icer is a Ditko concept best left in the ashcan, if only because of that awful name.

Come Back Next Week for a New Installment of Scripting Errors!

About Chris Walker

Chris Walker (@back2past) is affectionately referred to as Back to the Past’s social media lackey. He’s all over finding nuggets of pop culture news, wherever they may be hiding!

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