Image Comics is celebrating its 30th anniversary with anthologies, new series, and one-shots, including Jonathan Luna’s The Phalanx. Written, drawn, and lettered by Luna, this special honors the early days of Image when Spawn, Youngblood, Shadowhawk, and other brand-new superhero books were blowing us all away. Serving as a homage to brand new superheroes, Luna leans into the nostalgia of superheroes and the fun that brand new heroes can bring.
The Phalanx is the kind of comic you’ll enjoy when you know its purpose is to have a little fun with superheroes. That means fantastic costumes, exciting powers, and a plot that has each one of them showing off their abilities. The Phalanx isn’t going to make you think about life or the state of the world, but it will bring you back to your childhood, like when a cool costume drew you into buying a series.
This story opens with a woman chasing a man in a suit who seems to be able to make projections of a demon’s head and limbs. The woman is strapped with bullets as if to homage heroes like Cable. It’s ridiculous looking, but it’s supposed to be ridiculous. Soon she’s chasing the villain through a portal way back to the 90s. Luna imparts a few pop culture references 30-year-olds will appreciate. Still, really this is about the bullet-clad woman meeting a superhero team.
Luna mentions in an introduction he loved Image growing up, and you can tell the joy of his youth is right there on the page in this one-shot. For many, it’ll likely bring you back to those early days of discovering new heroes with crazy powers. That goes double for a hero named Lock Ness, who grows big and strong when she activates her powers, complete with her breasts flying out. It’s a horny choice that’ll bring kids back to their youth doodling and daydreaming.
As mentioned above, this isn’t a very complex story. This is more about seeing a character use pink energy chains, a winged gold metal-clad flying hero, and a dude with psionic-looking energy blades. The heroes fight, nearly get defeated but live to see another day with a few wounds.
Luna’s art style is detailed and works well enough for the superhero costumes and fight scenes. The thin line is not hyper-detailed like some of the comics’ greats from the 1990s, but it gets the job done. The general design of these characters is a good mix of homage and originality. They’re a daydream from a 10-year-olds fantasy superhero team, and for that reason, it works.
The Phalanx is a good dose of nostalgia for 90s superheroes. The story isn’t going to make you think about life or impart a deep message, but it will make you escape, which makes it an enjoyable read.
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