REVIEW: Silver Age Superfreaks

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Sun Apr 8 02:58:40 PDT 2007

On Apr 7, 11:21 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> Tom Russell reviews
> Silver Age Superfreaks # 1-4, by Martin Phipps

> Martin himself has said more than once that the series
> is really a parody, though I find it to be strangely
> absent of jokes.

My theory is that if you're reading a story and you recognize
something as a joke then it takes away your suspension of disbelief
and it ends up not even being funny.  That being said, the idea of
defeating Mr. Uoykcuf by making him say his name backwards can only be
interpretted as a joke.

> the stories that shift
> the focus from detectives to superheroes don't seem to
> have the same sparkle.
> when you're working
> exclusively with "normal" people, even in the genre,
> it requires more of a writer to keep it interesting.

So either way I'm screwed: if the focus shifts from the detectives to
the heroes then the series is no longer unique and likewise if the
focus shifts the other way.  I've noticed that myself.

> I think the stories that stay true to Martin's premise
> are, therefore, inherently more interesting than those
> that don't.  
> Silver Age Superfreaks does not stay true to this
> premise.  The focus is split pretty evenly between the
> heroes and the detectives.

Now I'm confused.  If the focus shifts to much to the heroes I'm
screwed; if it shifts too much to the detectives I'm screwed; I would
have thought that if the focus were evenly split then I would be
okay.  Of course, Saxon already pointed out that the detectives and
heroes didn't interact so much this time, that the detective's story
and the heroes' story followed different streams that only interacted
at at teh beginning an end.  Alas, this is inevitable as this is a
prequel and characters have to be introduced separately before they
can interact.

> I'm not a huge fan of this kind of story, if only
> because it's dependent on the unanswered questions of
> rabid fanboys.  

I don't believe for a moment that Superfreaks has rabid fanboys.
Rather I just felt like writing stories with Night Man and the
Exterminator but I had already killed both of them off and, as you
know, I'm not a big fan of flashbacks.  To me, the only difference
between a story with a lot of flashbacks and a story that is actually
set in the past and promoted as a prequel is that the latter is less
confusing. :)

> Now, there is another approach to this story-- another
> reason to tell it-- and that's to set up elements for
> as-yet-untold stories.  To not only explain things for
> the series it is serving as prequel to, but to set up
> events that will come to fruition in the stories
> after.
> And, perhaps, Silver Age Superfreaks sets up some
> material that will be explored in Martin's new series,
> Superfreaks Season 2.  But I can't see any loose
> threads in this miniseries; everything seems to tie in
> pretty nicely with Superfreaks proper.

Usually that it considered a good thing. :)

> I was not only disappointed to see that the promise of
> the premise was not delivered on, but that the promise
> of the title was squandered as well: there wasn't
> really much that was Silver Agey about Silver Age
> Superfreaks.

I was actually originally going to call it "Golden Age Superfreaks"
because Colonel Wonder is reminiscent of the Golden Age Captain Marvel
and Batman's Robin was similarly introduced back in the early 40s (if
not earlier) but a Punisher "parody" doesn't seem particularly golden
age.  The Justice League and the Avengers both date back to the Silver
Age, however.  I'm not sure why you wouldn't have described Silver Age
Superfreaks as "Silver Agey".  I realize that it wasn't the sixties
but rather (in my mind) the early nineties but you almost must be
aware of the fact that the current Marvel and DC heroes who date back
to the silver or golden age can't actually be in their sixties or
eighties now and that those golden and silver age stories have all
been retconned into having taken place back in the eighties and
nineties anyway.  (Modern flashbacks to Spiderman's early career would
not have sixties references, for example.)

> Still, it has its moments.  I did enjoy the formation
> of the Extreme Force Six, even if I wasn't
> particularly interested in how it was formed in the
> first place.  I thought it was funny how Extreme,
> Martin's Superman analogue, kept saying the very idea
> of him serving on such a team was ridiculous.

There is the incredulity of Archer and Extreme being on the same team
what with Extreme being godlike and Archer being, well, an archer.

> I was going to say something about Martin's overuse of
> colons and semicolons, especially in the first couple
> of issues, but I am fully aware that I have no room to
> talk. :- )

I wasn't aware of me overusing colons and semicolons: it's something I
might want to watch out for the in the future.


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