Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Indiana Jones Comic Book Revue #4

All books are rated on a 0 to 5 Fedoras system.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #5
(Marvel Comics Group)

Plot/Script by: David Michelinie
Pencilled by: Ron Frenz
Inked by: Danny Bulandi
Cover by: Ron Frenz

"I'm just glad mom isn't here to see this..."

Dateline 1936

"The Harbingers" continues right off the cliffhanger from last issue with Indiana Jones and Karen Mays as they dangle precariously off of a bridge in a commandeered Rolls Royce. As they make their escape they find that they are out of the frying pan only to jump into the fire as the Nazis are waiting for them on the bridge. Indy and Karen leap for the Thames and land on a garbage scow which takes them away from the immediate danger.

What follows is a series of misadventures with Indy and Karen dodging the Nazi menace at every turn while they try to make it to Stonehenge with the crystal artifact. Once there, they hope to see if the carvings that tell of the return of ancient beings to our plane of existence are true. What they find is pretty much as advertised and Michelinie describes it as such:
Above the ancient rock towers of Stonehenge the very sky splits open giving hazy glimpses of things reptillian, simian, canine, insectile, and utterly, utterly unknown!

Indy is tempted to let the beasties out so he can learn their secrets but has a change of heart and smashes the crystal, locking them away to wallow in their otherworldly place forever, not to mention foiling those pesky Nazis yet again.

Although I am never a fan of showing Indy too much of the supernatural, it is a necessary element to telling a certain kind of Indiana Jones story so I'm not going to condemn the creative team for going to the places they did in "The Harbingers". It's not the best Indy story I've ever read, but the characterizations were good, the action was fun, there was a fight on top of a train, and it was, overall, a decent pulp-inspired read. I also think this tale succeeds primarily because it mirrors so much of what made Raiders work: the race against time; the Nazi's around every corner; the ancient artifact that promises wondrous things; and a showy SFX finale with swirly ghost-like apparitions.

I honestly thought I was going to dip down with the rating on this one but I think it could be argued that "The Harbingers" was totally consistent with its predecessor and, therefore, earns three well-worn fedoras.

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