Let us here at PoP! guide you through a minefield of books that seem full of win from the word go, but which once you crack them open have you shouting… It’s a Trap!
After the September 11th attacks, the world (America, at least) stood still for a moment. Once we started up again, it was with a new perspective and someone shifted priorities. Across the country, the every day hero was being celebrated, and it was happening right in our own comic books, too. Special issues of ongoings, such as Amazing Spider-Man #36, showed costumed superheroes working alongside their real-world counterparts while stand-alones such as 9-11 were put together by other publishers to raise both awareness for the heroes and funds to benefit the families of the victims. Amongst all of this, Marvel launched three limited series under the banner The Call of Duty: Brotherhood, The Wagon, and The Precinct. Sure, the books were a bit… odd… but they spotlighted the firefighters, paramedics, and police of NYC; a New York City, in fact, overrun by superheroes and villains alike. It was different. It was fun. It was great.
Then came time for the sequel.
The Call was Marvel’s ill-conceived four-issue follow-up to the three aforementioned intertwined minis. David Finch was no longer on art, but we somehow still had Chuck Austen on writing duties. The creative team wasn’t the real problem, though. You see, The Call of Duty was a book – well, three books – that focused on real world humans with real world problems coping with life in the Marvel Universe. The Call, on the other hand, took the main characters from each of those books, dosed them with superpowers, and threw them headlong into a plot devoid of any relatable issues whatsoever. Firefighter Mac now burned anything he touched (and Tony Stark was even nice enough to make him a containment suit that looked like a firefighter’s uniform), police officer Gunzer gained crazyass gun hands, and paramedic Jenn was a walking cesspool of debilitating diseases whose very touch could kill a man. Poetic, no? Nah, not really. Not when you realize these characters were somehow manifesting powers based on how they were killed/almost killed. It even works for random SHIELD Agent Lawrence who can suddenly grow knives from her fingertips.
So the premise is awful, but what about the story? Worse. In a nutshell, a terrorist (yeah, cause that seems appropriate) is attacking New York and it just so happens that every single superhero is on vacation or some shit, so Nick Fury leads this rag tag group into action against Halidon and his mutagenic-virus spewing zombies. Or, uh, something. Two of the four die for no good reason, while the others manage to save the day AND revert back to their normal selves. Hoo… ray?
The Call is drivel, plain and simple. Not even the beautiful covers were enough to save this beast. 1 out of 5 grappling hook knife fingers