Radioactive Man #197 (vol. 2 #9 FINAL ISSUE)
(not the last we’ll be reviewing since I have some from volume run with its numbering in a similar manner)
Bongo Comics (June,
WRITER: Batton Lash
LETTERER: Karen Bates
EDITOR: Bill Morrison
“Obrian And The New Guards!”
LAYOUTS: Batton Lash
PENCILER: Dan DeCarlo
INKER: Mike Royer
COLORISTS: Chris Ungar & Kane
Radio Man: “The Broadcast Buccaneers!”
PENCILER: Batton Lash
INKER: Bob Smith
COLORIST: Art Villaneuva
The main story sees Backseid, ruler of Ragnarokaway, has set his sights on Earth. Obrian of the New Guard learns of this and heads to Earth to warn them. For whatever reason this stuff happens in comics Obrian and Radioactive Man get into a fight and since Brother Box (which resembles that mini boom box I have at my art desk) is getting crossed signals Obrian’s anger management issues surface until the other New Guards show up to bring him back to New Gentry, where they plan inspections to avoid a war. Backseid is more than ready for that.
There’s not a lot for me to say on this one. It’s a parody of hero versus hero fights and a heavy parody of the New Gods. we only see Backseid from behind. A bunch of the New Guards show up at once and each has to introduce themselves, driving Gloria and Dr. Bentley a bit nuts. There’s also some not-very-subtle political commentary based on current events of when the comic came out but unlike a lot of that stuff today it doesn’t heavily distract from the story. Overall, I liked it.
The short back-up feature “reprints” an old story from On America’s Wavelength #49 (August, 1943) and features Captain Shazam Marvel parody Radio Man, secretly WZEN radio gopher Clarence Kane. Pirates are stealing celebrities during their live radio broadcasts and Radio Man springs into action. He ends up getting caught along with WZEN reporter Gloria Grand but manages to use his radio broadcasting powers to stop the pirates, the captain revealed to be WZEN’s station manager, wanting to bring the radio stars to that awful new medium of television. Radio Man saved the day, not realizing he’s only delaying the inevitable.
Before you ask, yes, I had to. Given my recent realizations and commentaries about how new forms of media will always be under attack by the older media forms I have an extra appreciation for this “attack” on television during the “radio days”. It’s funny. As stated earlier, Radio Man takes some cues from the original Captain Marvel. While the costume also resembles an early version of Radioactive Man’s costume there are design elements of Captain Marvel while Clarence speaks “magic call letters” (which we aren’t privy to in this story) to become Radio Man, and is a young man working at a radio station much like Billy Batson. (Of course he isn’t a news reporter like Billy because the parody factor is here.) They also take a shot at the misogyny of the day as Gloria’s own father (who owns the station) admits his daughter is their best reporter while still believing a man should be reading the report instead of her.
Overall this was a good issue. It was the last of volume two but not the last of Radioactive Man as he would appear in other comics, some of which I’ve already reviewed for this site and others still to come. We’re not done with the irradiated crusader just yet, folks.