Monday, January 04, 2010

Futura - Chapter 15

Throughout her story, kidnapped earth-woman Marcia Reynolds aka Futura has never been content to just sit around and wait to be rescued. This is characterization that was unusual for the time period as even the most capable female enthusiastically handed over control to the first man/potential husband/father-figure that appeared in-panel.

Chapter 15 of the Futura Saga is another example of the creators being unique in ignoring the usual gender roles for the fiction of this era. It was a rare episode that Futura didn't take stock of a situation and then promptly proceed to bust some heads for the greater good even if on occasion the results was less than satisfactory, such as the "Magic Sword" story arc in which she freed a people from subjugation only to destroy them all by unnatural disaster.

Planet Comics #57 (November 1948) features the creators really hitting their pace in telling the Futura story. It is a fun episode and the art and script are great. The page depicting the alien slave market is worthy of a pin-up on its own and is reminiscent of later John Buscema establishing pages from various Conan the Barbarian stories. Gloriously, Futura opens up a gigantic can of whup-ass in this chapter and splashes the contents around with a frenzy. It is a testament to her ability to beat on her enemies that she received a full extra page of butt-kicking action beyond the number her story usually received each issue. The bad-guys still don't seem to communicate among themselves much because they continue to let Futura within arms reach of pointy things, guns and chairs. This is such a basic error in tactics when going up against Futura that one would speculate a galaxy-wide alert would be broadcast like a Kansas tornado warning just in case some pirate or corrupt government official happened to cross paths with her.

It is with this issue that the story seems to find direction and becomes larger in scope. Some of the old comic book science fiction tropes are discarded and the tale becomes something that could later be called Heinlein-esque. This is something of a shame because there are not that many entries left in the Futura Saga. The state of the comics industry would bring in a few short years a close to many of the classic comic book titles that had been in publication for decades.

Safety goggles recommended when reading. Enjoy!

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