The Family Dynamic #1 (October, 2008)
“Into the Light of the Dark of Night”
Writer – J. Torres
Penciller – Tim Levins
Inks – Dan Davis
Colors – Dave McCaig
Letters – Sal Cipriano
Editor – Adam Schlagman
Cover Price: $2.25
And now for something completely different!
Today’s offering comes from that time in my life where I had lost my job… and just about everything else. Comics weren’t foremost on my mind, and so… I missed out on a bunch. It’s usually books that came from this era that “surprise me” the most when I flip past ’em in the cheap-o bins.
It’s like I have this weird “blind spot” in my comics collecting “career”. There’s no context… there’s no connective tissue… it’s just a weird book, that even to this day, I wasn’t aware even existed!
Today we’ll be checking out an All-Ages title and meet The Fantas– er, Family Dynamic.
We open at a Storm City Convenience Store where a trio of teen-agers are chatting about some recent events. A cover of the most recent issue of News Time Magazine sparks a conversation about a recent alien threat, and how the superhero team The Family Dynamic led the charge against them. They then begin to argue about whether or not heroes without superpowers (such as Blackbird and Little Wing) can actually be considered superheroes. It’s all a bit much, really.
Because, of course… these teen-agers are actually some of the heroes being discussed. One of whom (Makenzie) doesn’t have powers. They race back home, for today is Thanksgiving Day… and upon arrival they find themselves walking into quite the scene!
But before we get to that, we’re going to have to jump back one month in time. Actually, we’re not going to be getting to the Thanksgiving Dinner scene at all this issue. So, one month ago… there was a terrible forest fire… and The Family Dynamic were able to save the day. Let’s meet this foursome, one at a time…
First, there’s Pyralis… the leader of The Family Dynamic, who controls the element of Fire. Easy peasy, right? Battling an inferno should be a day off for him.
Then, there’s Sirocco, who controls the element of Air. She whips up a cyclone to draw all of the oxygen out of the fire… putting it out faster than any fire fighter could ever hope to.
Next, we meet Troylus, a youngster who controls the element of Water. He directs a tidal wave over some burning buildings to halt the blaze.
Finally, the youngest member of The Family Dynamic… and the one with the easiest to remember name… Terran! He controls, duh, Earth. He carries civilians to safety… however, he has help from another superhero, the Superman-analogue called Defender.
News reports are positively giddy at the prospect that The Family Dynamic and Defender might be working together moving forward. It’s almost as though the forest fire takes a back seat to this “news”.
Which brings us to a few days later… where the heroes decide to meet up in their civvies. Defender is actually, Dwayne Day… who, I believe is supposed to be a… get this, mild-mannered reporter. He visits with Sloan (Pyralis) for an interview. It’s here that we learn that The Family Dynamic is actually a group of Legacy Heroes… as in, they ain’t the first with that moniker. Indeed, the originals included Sloan’s father (then known as Captain Cyclone)… and he’s actually the fella Dwayne’s looking to interview.
Oh, we also learn that The Family Dynamic is actually a family. It’s Sloan, his wife, and their two sons. Of the original team, Captain Cyclone is the only one still alive… the others had been killed in battle by the Dark Wraith. It’s only because of Sloan and his family that Captain Cyclone is still among the living.
Members of The Family Dynamic each wear a ring which allows them to control an element. Dwayne asks Sloan why he chose the Fire Ring, when his father had fought crime using the Air Ring. Sloan replies that it’s the only one that “fit”… so, it’s kind of like the ring chose him.
They take the interview out of the basement HQ, and back into the living room. They begin discussing “other” heroes… those without super-powers, ya know… like Blackbird and Little Wing (they’re really pushing these two!). Sloan dismisses them as “vigilantes” because they don’t follow the “Superhero Code”, whatever that is. Just then, Sloan’s sister Maeve busts in… and she’s ticked off that nobody is answering her phone calls. I mean, I’ve known Maeve for about two seconds at this point, and even I can see why they wouldn’t!
Anyhoo, she wants to know what The Family Dynamic is doing getting all chummy with Defender… and she rants about this right in front of her brother’s house guest. She’s also there to talk with Sloan’s kids to get the “teen perspective” on some music. We learn here that Maeve actually has a teen-age daughter (hmm…). Maeve then leaves, but insists on giving Dwayne a ride home.
The next day, Sloan and the kids return home from work and school, respectively. It’s not long after getting home that the TV news turns to a report that Tragedy Ann and Tom Foolery are causing some trouble downtown. Heyyy, aren’t they from Doomsday Clock?!
Anyhoo, the Family Dynamic… ugh… “Get their Element On”. I hate myself for typing that.
Downtown, Tragedy Ann and Tom Foolery are delivering some threats. First they take responsibility for that forest fire from earlier, claiming that it was only a “dress rehearsal” for what’s to come.
But then… The Family Dynamic arrives on the scene… looking more like superheroes… and less like frumpy suburbanites in spandex.
Tragedy Ann threatens to crash a blimp into the city in a reenactment of the Hindenburg Disaster… however, says she might just reconsider if Blackbird (her again?) turns herself over to them.
The Family Dynamic won’t stand for these threats, however… and leap into action. Errr… well, they begin to, anyway. They wind up tangled in a net… not courtesy of Tragedy Ann, though! Now Enter: Blackbird and Little Wing!
Well… first things first… love the art, love the character designs. You could almost see these characters popping up in a Pixar-type movie… which, I suppose, considering when this way made, might’ve been the point?
The story we get here is… really nothing special. It’s just another “take” on a superhero universe, using obvious analogues to comic book archetypes to flesh out their world. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but, I dunno… maybe I’m a little too familiar with these archetypes to truly appreciate the novelty anymore?
It’s easy to draw comparisons between The Family Dynamic and the Fantastic Four… heck, they even have similar powers! Defender is an obvious Superman analogue (even down to his civilian occupation!)… and Blackbird and Little Wing are another take on Batman and Robin. By the way, we all understand that they’re really Maeve and Makenzie, right?
While I found the, I dunno, “gimmick” of this book to be just kinda “there”, that’s not to say I didn’t have some fun with it… because I did. Like I said, the art was a definite treat… and I also appreciate the amount of world-building Torres engaged in. I mean, we learn things about the previous generation of The Family Dynamic! You know I’m a sucker for that sort of thing, so I definitely dug it here!
Tragedy Ann and Tom Foolery were a lot of fun. I’m always going to sign off on punny names… and it didn’t hurt that they just look so cool! Again, can’t say enough about how much I adore the art and character designs here… they’re really great!
Plus, I can’t wait for the reveal that this is actually taking place in the Watchmen Universe…
… okay, probably not.
Overall, despite not finding anything “new” here… I still had a decent enough time with this one. I’m not sure I’ll rush out to track down the rest of this series anytime soon… but, lemme tell ya, if you come across this one in a cheap-o bin… odds are, you’ll find something to like! Doesn’t look like this has been made available digitally… which really, isn’t much of a surprise.