REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #57 - September 2008 [spoilers]

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Mon Oct 13 03:57:05 PDT 2008

On Oct 13, 12:17 pm, Saxon Brenton <saxonbren... at> wrote:

> Silver Age Superfreaks #6
> 'Nightfall'
> A Superfreaks [Superfreaks] series
> by Martin Phipps
>      (Which, according to comments-after-the-fact, was supposed to have been  
> labelled 'Mightnight').

Midnight.  I don't know why I typed "Nightfall".  That was the title
to #5.

>      In one sense this story can be considered typical of _Superfreaks_.  
> This is not so much in terms of plot, although it is certainly true in  
> the broadest sense of 'something relating to superhumanity occurs and needs  
> to be investigated by the regular police'.  Rather, _Superfreaks_ is quite  
> specifically a combination of the police investigation and superhero genres,  
> and the police investigation tends to predominate.
>      In this instance Super Soldier is investigated for murder/manslaughter  
> of a bank robber.  He's put on trial (under his nom de guerre, thanks to  
> national protection of his secret identity), and ultimately found innocent  
> on grounds of justifiable homicide.  Later he gets tapped on the shoulder as  
> the leader of the reformed Extreme Force Six.  (Obviously, this is set prior  
> to current continuity, and certainly prior to Super Soldier's death in  
> _Superfreaks Season 2_ #5.)
>      Anyway, if this story had been structured as a typical superhero story,  
> then the investigation and trial would be a setup for a 'loss of public  
> confidence' story, possibly with the 'superhero on the run from the law'  
> twist.  Most likely it would have been part of a nefarious scheme by his  
> archnemesis to discredit him.  If written for the Golden or Silver Ages,  
> then the villain would have been motivated to remove the hero so as to have  
> a clear shot at his attempts to take over the city/country/planet.  If  
> written for the Bronze or Iron ages the villain's motivation would more  
> likely to have been revenge, pure and simple.  Eventually the hero would  
> have exposed the plot against him, and his status quo as a hero would be  
> restored to universal acclaim.
>      This is not to say that the valid and quite complex doubts that Alan  
> Russell voices at the end of the issue about unaccountable authority would  
> not have had some place in such a story.  However, I believe it is the case  
> that such a story would have had a dramatic purpose of deliberate persecution  
> of the hero protagonist, rather than what we have here, which is a routine  
> prosecution of due process.  And *that* is how you can tell _Superfreaks_  
> has the police investigation as the dominant half of its genre pairing.

Everything you say is true BUT there's the added complication that
almost everything is told from the point of view of the police and the
lawyers and, as a result, we never find out, for example, why The
Super Soldier just happened to be at the bank at the time it was being
robbed.  The bit at the beginning clearly suggested that there were
other "fantastic fighters" other than The Super Soldier so who was
this guy anyway who could hold his own in a fight withe The Super
Soldier?  Why did it come to the point where The Super Soldier had to
kill him?  It did seem as though at least one of them was set up.  Of
course, nothing was resolved because I had to set things up so that
we're back at the way things were in Superfreaks Seaon One.   At
least, after reading this, you get a better idea of why the police
were so suspicious of the heroes (and vice-versa).

Oh and this wasn't really a trial because The Super Soldier hadn't
been arrested.  If somebody doesn't show up at an inquest then I guess
that would be grounds for arrest but The Super Soldier was co-
operating and was free to go about his business.  If any evidence
could be brought forward to show that The Super Soldier was ctiminally
responsible then there would have been a trial to determine what
charges could be brought against him (and even then there would be
possible defenses such as temporary insanity that could be

I liked the fact that I delt with the identity issue this time.  When
Extreme was brought to trial, I never mentioned the fact that he
couldn't be questioned about his private life.  That's why Leroy
Laurel didn't have him testify, namely so he would be spared that sort
of questioning.  I could have thrown a line in about that but I wasn't
sure where to put it.


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