Jim Lee’s C-23 Special Edition (1998)

Jim Lee’s C-23 Special Edition (1998)
Writer – Jeff Mariotte
Penciller – Lee Bermejo
Inker – Mark Irwin
Letterer – Denise Park
Colors – WildStormFX
Editor – John Layman

Today we’re going to be looking at a weird one… also, since I’m technically on vacation, a short one!

Jim Lee’s C-23… either a comic based on a trading card game… or a trading card game based on a comic, produced this puny little ashcan that we are going to look at now.

We open up “a year ago”, where some dude who doesn’t get named calls the attention of another dude (who does get a name) Corbin to a fallen… uh, “Angelan” bad guy?  Maybe?  Either way, this fallen insectoid fella has an odd green mega-buster of sorts… which the, um… good guys (?) take.

Corbin takes the mega-busterand puts it on… as the other guy goes to kill the fallen fella.  Corbin then turns the buster… blade… thing toward him and demands he help the fallen guy up so they can take him prisoner.

Corbin helps the baddie to his feet and takes him away.  The other dude is surprised that Corbin was able to wield the buster-blade thingie… because as far as he knew… only Angelans could do that!  Uh-oh.

Toldja it was short!

Short… and kinda bad.  Not that a 2-page ashcan is the right place to go “heavy” into a story… but, at least tempt me to wanna pick up the next issue!  This was such a waste as a promotional piece… I mean, you want me to pick up the comic?  You failed.  You want me to collect the cards?  You failed again!  You’ve given me absolutely no reason to care about any of this!

The issue opens with a run down of the “World of C-23”, and short bios of the characters (of which… as far as I can tell, only one appears in this comic).  Why even introduce these characters if we’re not going to see them “in action”?  Just tell us who/what Corbin is… and maybe throw an extra page or two of “story” in.

As with so many of Jim Lee’s projects… there’s really is no “heart” here.  Seems as though so most of his creator-owned books are just boilerplate “what’s in (and what’s selling) at the time” superheroics.  As we discussed during the WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams episode of The Cosmic Treadmill… Lee takes the tropiest of the tropes, and throws a coat of paint on ’em.

In that book, it was: take the X-Men (or any “superteam”) line-up, and shuffle up the colors a bit… here it’s post-apocalyptic faction warfare… with a special “gene”.  Can’t help but to think we’ve read this before… probably several times over.  Though, in fairness… Lee was trying to sell a CCG here, so it might’ve best served him to keep it simple.  But this feels almost “too” simple… too boilerplate.  There’s no meat on these bones… and there’s no reason to choose this CCG over the glut of others that were shoveled out of warehouses during the second half of the 1990’s.

It feels weird to really “rate” what is, in essence, a promotional piece… actually, there’s no “in essence” about it… this is just a commercial… and, unfortunately… it’s a bad one.


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One thought on “Jim Lee’s C-23 Special Edition (1998)

  • Good review! I will say, I thoroughly enjoyed inking Lee on that story- he was coming into his own as a penciller and that stuff was super fun. From a purely art standpoint, of course!


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