Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fun Run For 7/23

Today's fun run is the 18 issue run that Christopher Priest had on Steel from 1997 until the book's cancellation in 1998.

What Priest did with Steel was one of the more major revamps in recent comic book history.

He took the entire Irons family, nad jettisoned all but John Henry Irons' niece, Natasha.

He had Natasha and John move to new locale where John became a doctor at a hospital, run by Dr. Villain (pronounced Will-hane).

Here is the cover of the first issue.

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Dave Johnson's bold covers really got across the idea that this series was different from previous Steel's, and Priest's writing (and Denys Cowan and Tom Palmer's art) got that across as well.

Priest had Steel return to wearing an "S" on his chest, which I thought was cool, as it looked much cooler than his previous armor.

In addition, Priest addressed (and resolved) the questionable idea of giving Steel superpowers.

The most outstanding aspect of Priest's run, though, was definitely his handling of Natasha and her new best friend, named Boris.

Boris and Natasha (nice, eh?) were the best of friends, but Boris had a secret - he had HIV.

Boris was a fine creation by Priest, making sure that he was depicted in a non-stereotypical way. He had HIV, and that was that. No preaching here.

The next best thing about the run was the character interaction.

Steel and Natasha.

Natasha and Boris.

Steel and Boris.

Steel and his love interest, Dr. Amanda Quick.

Steel and his boss, Arthur Villain.

Steel and the supervillain who was wooing Amanda.

Lots of really neat characters, lots of funny lines, plus lots of action made this one of the best books DC was putting out in 1997.

Here is a good cover by Cowan later on in the run...

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A fun run, indeed!

Anyone else care to share their thoughts on this Steel run?


Blogger omike015 said...

Sorry. I'm going to have to disagree with you. I thought Priest's run on STEEL was pretty terrible. Returing the 'S' to the armor and Boris and his interaction with Natasha were about the only good things about it. Once you get past the one-note joke of his name, Doctor Villain wasn't that deep of a character. Also, as I recall, Priest didn't resolve the "Steel being a meta-human" plot, so much as write it off with just a couple pages.

You're right about those Dave Johnson covers. There are some beauties in there. Too bad he only did the first six issues of Priest's run. :-/

7/26/2005 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Priest was handed a book that was pretty badly written into a corner. Heck, pretty badly written period. I've loved some of Louise Simonson's other stuff (when's her Power Pack coming up in Fun Runs?), but it was just embarassing to watch her try to write street.

Priest took it, dropped dangling plot threads, settings and characters, and turned it into a brand new book. It wasn't a perfect fit. John Henry really had no business as a hospital administrator; that was clearly left-over from some other book Priest had been plotting in his head. And Steel's armor had to be modified and de-powered to a level that could fit in that other book's plots.

But if you just accepted the new status quo, the actual stories were pretty fun. Not to everyone's taste, but Priest never is. And it was nice to see a Steel that was recognisably the same guy in Morrison's JLA.


7/26/2005 12:41 PM  
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