Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Every comics-reader should read the short-lived DC Comics series HAYWIRE for one reason and one reason alone.

After doing so, he will realize what a good comics-writer Frank Miller is.


Conceptually HAYWIRE feels like it derives from Japan's 1985 manga series BIO-BOOSTER GUYVER, in that the hero is an ordinary schmuck transformed into a heroic entity by some weird armor. But in terms of style HAYWIRE is clearly derived from the example of Miller's DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, which hit shops about two years earlier. Neither writer Michael Fleischer nor artist Vince Giarrano is up to the challenge of being a tenth as entertaining or as psychologically *b*g***k* as Frank Miller. Credit where due: as one can see from the cover, the cast does include a woman in a B&D costume. Back in 1988 Miller hadn't used B&D costumes nearly to the extent that he has these days, so I'd give Fleischer and Giarrano a little credit for the prescience of their imitation.

The astute reader will notice that the cover depicts a catfight between the aforementioned B&D woman (name of Nightlash), and another costumed woman; the latter goes by the cognomen White Lotus. The two women do have a prime-quality battle within the pages of HAYWIRE #8, but that's not why this comic is on my list. It's here for a separate three-page sequence where the adventurous Nightlash ventures into a dive and picks a fight with all the male boozehounds therein. After the boozers reveal themselves as rapists ("The mask is the only thing I'm gonna leave on 'er!"), Nightlash counterattacks. The scene ends on a long-shot from outside the bar as the reader "hears" the sounds of bloody carnage within and the voice of Nightlash:

"God-- I just love men!"

Now there, and there alone, does HAYWIRE even come close to being in the same ballpark as Frank Miller.

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