NTS #4 – Ekko

New Talent Showcase #4 (Ekko)
“Ekko, Part One”
Writer – Rich Margopoulos
Pencils – Steve Lightle
Inks – Gary Martin
Letters – Duncan Andrews
Colors – Jeanine Casey
Edits – Karen Berger

Holy smokes… could it be?  A new installment of New Talent Showdays?!  On this site?!  What’s the world come to???

Well, we’re gonna try beboppin’ back and forth between New Talent Showcase and Marvel Comics Presents for awhile.  NTS was never a big draw when I last ran it… but, whattayagonnado?  It’s not like the MCP coverage is lighting the charts on fire either (outside of the Master of Kung Fu feature, for… whatever reason).  Anyhoo, variety is the spice of life… and at the very least, this might help stave off burn-out!

We start with… Ekko.  Every time I see his name, I’m immediately reminded of that big dude from LOST, and I say “Meesta Aiko” to myself… sometimes out loud.  That’s… about all I got.  So, let’s finally meet the guy!

Our story opens with a fella being hunted down in an alley by a Grenadier and an archer known as Quarrel.  His name is Trevor Hawks, and it looks like he’s gotten himself in too deep researching the so-called “Crimeking”.  Quarrel puts a bolt through his heart, and they leave him for dead.  A weirdo named Screwball arrives in a… well, giant hamster ball… to transport the baddies back to base.

We shift scenes to New York’s Hope General Hospital, where inside we meet a doctor who finds himself with the hotpants for the pretty new doc on the block.  He asks to join her for lunch in the cafeteria, and she seems cool with it.  While he chats her up, he puffs on his pipe… that’s no euphemism folks… frankly, I’m not sure he’s that flexible.  Anyhoo, he’s interrupted by an intern with a bad mohawk named Klepto… who pops by to try and steal his gold Zippo lighter.  We’re world-building here, folks!

The Docs then learn that they got a “bleeder” who just showed up.  It is, of course, Trevor Hawks.  Get this… that pipe-puffin’ Doc is Simon Hawks, Trevor’s little brother!  The hot-doc is named Gretchen, by the way.  Together, they look at the victim, and realize that: they can rebuild him… they have the technology.  Now, when I was reading this, I assumed that these two turned Trevor into Ekko…

… but, that’s not the case at all!  Gretchen and Simon do manage to save Trevor’s life… but, get this… it’s Simon who turns out to be Ekko!  Our new hero suits up, and can sense the arrival of… Grenadier and Quarrel, who are here to finish the job they’d started in the alley.

We get a couple of pages of Ekko showing his stuff… which is basically that the suit gives him heightened senses… maybe super-strength.  I’m sure we’ll learn more as we go through.  We wrap up, however, on the dire scene of Ekko being blasted out of a hospital window… some eight stories high!  Will he survive?  Well, we’ll have to wait until next time to find out…

You remember back in the early 90’s when they stopped making G.I. Joes look like… well, G.I. Joes?  Instead of looking like actual “army men”, we’d get these neon-colored, crazy-helmeted, huge-booted, gaudy-ass goofballs?  That’s… well, that’s kind of what I think about when I see our new friend, Ekko.

I really assumed that this was going to wind up being a Six-Million Dollar Man riff, with poor clinging-to-life Trevor being suited up into the gimmick.  For all I know, it still might go that direction… if Simon actually doesn’t survive the fall.  Eh, anything can happen, right?

I appreciated the little bit of “world-building” we get here.  Establishing a civilian cast and setting to surround our hero is something I always dig… even if some of our characters are a bit one-note.  I mean, a dude named Klepto… who has a proclivity to pocketing shiny things?  Oh well… can’t win ’em all.

The baddies?  Well, more early-90’s G.I. Joe fare.  I mean, these weirdos could easily be slotted into Cobra or the Dreadnoks, no?  Oh well.  I’ll withhold judgment on ’em for now… and let ’em grow into their roles.

Since this is New Talent Showcase… let’s meet us some new talent, shall we?  Our writer, Rich Margopoulos… well, we’ve already met him.  He was the man behind our earlier Forever Amber feature… remember?  The DC Brass of 1984 must’ve been pretty high on the guy, considering he’s given the lead-off feature both times out so far!

Across the table, we’ve got Steve Lightle… who, I’m actually kind of surprised we’ve never discussed here at the site!  He would go on from here to have a pretty prolific career.  When I think of him, my mind immediately goes to the Kupperberg Doom Patrol, even though his run there was very short… like 5-6 issues, if I’m not mistaken.  I think a lot of folks will know him as the guy who penciled over Keith Giffen’s layouts on the early Baxter-era Legion of Superheroes.  It’s really neat seeing some of his early work here.

Overall… Ekko is a pretty neat, if low-stakes, little strip.  It feels a lot like the DC-Impact line.  Kind of boilerplate stuff… but, inoffensive enough to enjoy.

Tomorrow: Meet Bobcat!

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