Monday, November 22, 2010

The Indiana Jones Comic Book Revue #5

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

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #6
(Marvel Comics Group)

Plot/Script by: David Michelinie (from an idea by Archie Goodwin)
Pencilled by: Howard Chaykin
Inked by: Terry Austin
Cover by: Howard Chaykin & Terry Austin

"I actually enjoy saving a person's life twice in one day for no gratitude whatsoever."

Dateline 1936

"Club Nightmare!" reintroduces Marion Ravenwood to the world of Indiana Jones as our hero joins her in New York for the opening of their new business venture, The Raven. With all the money Marion received from "that lost ark mess", and Indy as a silent partner, she decides to open a club in New York. Eventually, she runs afoul of local gangster, Emil Marko, who wanted to be a partner in the business in order to use it as a front for a gambling setup. Marion tells him to go suck an egg and Marko puts the squeeze on Marion, jeopardizing her life and opening night!

This is a pretty good story and stands as one of the best since the Byrne issues right off the top. Michelinie shows some classic pulp sensibilities, giving the affair a nice '30s New York feel and populates the story with characters that remind me of many of the cast of Casablanca. The wonderful art by Howard Chaykin (also the best in the series since Byrne's departure) only serves to enhance the period look and feel of the story and he does an excellent job with the action sequences. It's a shame that he's only here for a single issue fill-in. At least we get to enjoy Chaykin's work in the future when he lends his considerable talent to some excellent covers for the series.

This issue was a really solid installment in the series. It was nice to see a straight up Indy adventure that did not take place in a jungle (unless you want to argue a concrete one), had no supernatural elements and worked like gangbusters (no pun intended) without relying on Nazis, communists or the occult for an antagonist or a MacGuffin. It was also nice to see Marion return even though this story (and this whole series, for that matter) clearly takes place outside of Indy canon. She was consistent, in character and a really good foil for Indy. From what I can tell, Marion continues on in the series for a few issues so we'll see if that trend holds.

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