Tag Archives: Dwayne McDuffie

Fantastic Four #544 Review

FantasticFour#544 cover

In the aftermath of Civil War comes RECONSTRUCTION, the beginning of a stunning new era of fantastic adventure. The team has been rocked to its foundations by the controversial events of the last several months. Now Reed and Sue have announced their plans to take some time off to work out their marital problems, leaving Ben and Johnny to hold the fort. But they won’t be doing it shorthanded. Two new members join the team, Black Panther and Storm. Epoch says that the events that occurred are beyond their comprehension. The Fantastic Four make to land on her but she begs them to leave. She says their energies she’s releasing are detectible and she fears being discovered by the Herald. With that, the Silver Surfer arrives.


The Black Panther and Storm join the Fantastic Four and renovate the Baxter building to be more like home.  After a press conference they meet with Deathlok who has them investigate the mystery of Gravity’s missing body. They manage to visit the Watcher and get the information they need.

Tracking Epoch the living planet they discover she has Gravity’s body and she refuses to hand it over. A fight ensues and the Silver Surfer arrives.

The Good

Mystery- Who the hell is gravity and why is his body missing?FantasticFour#544 1

Cover-We have the ever loving blue eyed thing in the foreground, followed by the human torch with our favorite married couple Storm the mutant weather goddess and Black Panther the most dangerous man alive.

Believable- McDuffie manages to put Storm and Black Panther on the Fantastic Four and even have the costumes changed to match Black Panther’s black motif in a very natural and convincing manner. He also makes a point of having Storm reconcile her normally volatile relationship with the press by having her acknowledge that as queen she must now comport herself like a queen as she no longer has the benefit of being a mutant outlaw.

Future Portents- This issue references the watcher attending the wedding of Black Panther and Storm back in Black Panther (2005) # and also makes reference to the children they will have…….now by my calculation that would mean Sky Panther, Azari from the cartoon Avengers Next, Panther who joined the exiles, The children from the “dune like” future T’chaka who marries Luke Cage’s daughter Danielle, Twari, the unnamed son, the twins…..yeah that’s all I’m aware of so far. But me thinks there must be quite a few more that should eventually pop up!

FantasticFour#544 2Humor- Quite a few chuckle worthy moments in this one, my favorite had to be where Black Panther went into his exposition about the watcher and Storm nips it in the bud. Pity Reggie Hudlin didn’t take note that this was the proper way to write a marriage.

Black Heroes- Ladies and gentlemen I give you Storm and Black Panther the mightiest coupling in the marvel universe under a scribe whose execution is damn near perfect! Oh and Deathlok shows up too!

Art- Paul Pelletier’s art is a visual feast. Everything has a good balance of details, smoothness and cartoon aesthetic.  Storm in particular is beautiful, with full luscious lips, charming eyes and well defined African nose.  The art also manages to give all the characters even the rock like Thing very expressive facial features.

Team- McDuffie manages to lay all the personalities at his disposal very well. Storm is warm, comforting and friendly with Ben and Johnny yet very loving though not submissive to Black Panther.  Storm steals the ultimate nullifier off panel thanks to her thieving skills, Johnny is the typical hothead mess and Ben shows that he’s not the dumbest member of the team by piloting the new ship easily and also grabbing the information the tea needed from the Cycloedia Universum (the Watchers Wikipedia) while everyone else was overwhelmed. This is simply bloody good writing!

The Bad

Action- This issue is very light on the fisticuffs, which will surely prevent a great many from digging into this feast.

Thief- This was an aspect of Storm’s characterization and continuity that Hudlin all but ignored. I would have gotten a kick out of seeing how Storm got the nullifier but that probably just me.

The Ugly

Dwayne McDuffie RIP this is by far one of the most enjoyable tales that feature the Black Panther & Storm. It shows them taking over the spot of Invisible woman and Mr. Fantastic with great ease while adding their own unique flair. Overall I must say this issue is a solid 4/5

stars- 4

Icon #7 Review

Icon #7

Icon #7

When a superhero sidekick finds out she’s pregnant, will she keep it or……..

Courtesy of Dwayne Mcduffie comes this touching tale of a teenage

superhero faced with a life altering decision!!


Icon explains his origins to rocket but she doesn’t believe him. She goes to a clinic for a check up to confirm her pregnancy. She is pregnant and she considers an abortion and adoption, the doctor all but tries to convince her on the first.

Icon meanwhile goes around town doing good. Rocket meets up with him to ask for a loan though she does not specify for what. When she brings up abortion he recounts his dead wife’s abortion and she finally decides she wants to keep the baby despite common sense and logic telling her otherwise. She continues to write her book confident that somehow someway things will work out. icon7 1

The Good

Bold-What can be said about a comic book from the 90’s dealing with a teenage mother considering abortion or adoption with a superhero and a doctor except…BLOODY WELL DONE! The topic of abortions even in the new millennium is taboo. This tale reaches me on a very personal level since I got my girlfriend pregnant while we where both seniors in high school. I still don’t know how Mcduffie got DC to agree to publishing this comic because it deals with a reality that society and the entertainment industry as a whole would rather pretend didn’t exist. Teenagers do shag, they probably shag more than people in a stable relationship (laugh) pregnancy of course is a side effect of enjoying the fun aspect of a shag without thinking about it. I dig the melding of reality here.

A real Icon-The courage of Rocket makes her a role model for owning up to mistakes beyond the paper she’s drawn on. She’s definitely an Icon!

Action-Action fans should also be happy as Icon flew around town helping little old ladies whose purses were snatched adding another

icon7 2Humor- Another huge aspect of Mcduffie’s personality that shone through in this issue was his sense of humor, similar if you can believe it to Joss Whedon in many ways. When Icon pours his heart out to Rocket and she thinks he’s lying was just golden, sure the situation was serious but c’mon it’s always funny when you tell the truth and the person your telling said truth thinks your a liar!

Art- The art continues to grow in stride with nice proportioned characters that actually look like real people as opposed to the clearly fictional proportions of other comics an added bonus was how well it conveyed the emotions of the characters in the various situations connected to the pregnancy and the possible abortion.

Emotional-The reality of abortion that this book brings to the forefront of the mind is daunting considering this came out November 1993. Rocket walks through the women’s clinic and has this moving talk with a female doctor who had an abortion many years ago. The doctor warns her of the complications that can occur with an abortion if she waits any longer she also alludes that her own pregnancy that she got rid off may have prevented her from becoming a doctor but you also get that she still feels the loss ever so often. Icon later tells Rocket about his own wife’s abortion to save her life that neither of them got over. This also brought up allot of my emotional baggage from my teen years as my then girlfriend had an abortion after her father found out she was pregnant and neither of us have ever gotten over that, despite her being married and me now being a jolly dad to a beautiful young lady. Thus is not a decision that one makes lightly!

The Bad

The art will turn some off as well as what some will perceive as the slow paced story.

The Ugly

Deeply moving and way ahead of it’s time! 4/5

Captain Marvel Giant Size Special #1 Review


After the events of Avengers #293 Monica Rambeau finds herself at home recuperating from the loss of her powers and restarting a “normal” life. Monica returns to life on the sea; this time as a Captain aboard the cargo ship, “Tea Cake”. The ship is attacked by the super villain “PowderKeg”, along with a group of mercenaries, in search of the special cargo. During the battle, Monica dons her Captain Marvel/Photon uniform, in hopes of scaring the mercenaries, which works, but gets her attacked by PowderKeg. During the fight Captain Marvel regains her powers, albeit in an altered form, and defeats the villain. After being checked out by Reed Richards, Captain Marvel confronts the Cargo ship owner and finds out the part belongs to Stark International, and has been taken away from him. Kristina Ramos, a ruthless crime lord from Brazil, wanted the part for herself in order to complete the suit of Guardsman armor she had acquired, and sent Moonstone (Karla Sofen) to retrieve it. Captain Marvel defeats Moonstone and Ramos, who dons the Guardsman armor, and disables the armor with the help of James Rhodes.


The Good

Art- Very detailed; facial expressions are very clear, and the colors compliment the story.

Origin- The events in Avengers 293 left Monica a shell of a woman. Her parents, especially her mother, worried very deeply for her, and the loss of her powers and subsequent return back home was exactly what her mother wanted. As the years go on, we find that Monica’s mother did more to undermine her career, and even went as far as hiding her Avengers card so she could not receive calls from them.

*note* the story was written by Dwayne McDuffie

Cover- At long last! They have done something with her hair! That fact alone makes the cover a hit!

Story Significance- Monica Rambeau is one of the few black female characters in the Marvel U; she has been lost in the new landscape, but at one point during the 80’s served as leader of the Avengers, this story returned her to some  prominence during the 90’s, before settling in with a new group. Plus, it was good to see Moonstone (who knew she would blow up the way she has!)


The Bad

No real complaints, the story’s villains could have been more mainstream, but served their purpose.


The Ugly

Nice story about how Captain Marvel regained her powers 3.5/5


Review submitted by Black Heroes member Marcus .H. Roberts

Static Shock #3 Review


Static Shock and Virule face off while the authorities try to intercept them. Static drives off his attackers and saves the authorities. He arrives home late and talks to both his sister and her clone. Back at school he manages to catch the eye of a local gang member with ties to the press gang. That night they go to the club to meet the villains and Static captures a female member and hold her hostage to blackmail the team. Elsewhere Pale man and Piranha make an exchange. Virule realizes he can replicate using statics powers so when the gang meet static he breaks rank and attacks him. Static absorbs all the power generated from New York and throws at the villain. As he flies off we see Virule has replicated.

The Good

Static Shock-Mouthy smart ass as always greatly characterized and his tech continues to be the highlight of every issue. This time he creates a makeshift bo-staff for close combat. Good stuff!

Milestone respect- The Dwayne Mcduffie science center and mention of the event which started it all Dakatas “Big Bang” give us a glimpse of what has survived into the new DCU.


The Bad

Cover-Worst cover so far, it illustrates a fight between Virule and Static shock but falls flat.

Colors- Strange but the colors in this issue where not as bright as the last two resulting in a washed out feel and drab colors

Clone sisters- Sorry this just seems tacked on and adds NOTHING to the overall story, it honestly just crowds the story


The Ugly





Wise Son

Wise Son

Wise Son

Publisher: Milestone Media

First Appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, April 1993

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie, Ivan Velez Jr. and Denys Cowan

Real Name: Hannibal White

Nationality: American

Weight: 190 lbs    Height: 5’11

Eyes: Black              Hair: Black

Relatives: Esme White (mother), Edmund White (son), Cornelia White (sister)

 Powers: Wise son possess a super dense molecular structure granting him a high level of invulnerability and resistance to injury. A side effect of this is his enhanced strength. He is also able to extend this invulnerability to those he touches but has little control over this.

Wise son was one of the founders of Nur Al-Allah (Lamp of God), the Islamic contingent of the Paris Bloods. As a gang member in Dakota he was present at the Big Bang event.When the tear gas hit the gangs he was knocked out cold. When he woke up he heard the sirens and fled instinctively. He got as far as Willis Avenue when he ran into some cops. Hannibal thought he was busted but the cops fled as their van blew up. Pinned by the truck , he should have died but instead found himself unharmed. The shock of the event caused him to wet himself [Blood Syndicate #3].

The Origin of Wise Son from Blood Syndicate #3

The Origin of Wise Son from Blood Syndicate #3

When he discovered he was indestructible he took it as a sign of a ‘holy mission”. With a new lease on life he decided to stay away from the gang life and returned home to his sister. Holocaust hunted him down and threatening his family forced him to join Wise Son’s new gang. Together they busted up a drug ring and recruited Masquerade. Together they formed the Blood Syndicate [Blood Syndicate #9].

His past with the Paris Bloods made him one of the more Bloodthirsty and often sexist members of the team. He constantly got into it with teammate Brickhouse [Blood Syndicate #1]. When Holocaust challenged Tech-9 it was Hannibal who made sure no one interfered in the fight regardless of outcome [Blood Syndicate #2-3]. After teammate Tech-9 died he took the mantle of leadership [Blood Syndicate #4].

Hannibal had a hot-tempered nature which lead to conflict with Icon and Rocket though they later called a truce [Icon #5-6]. He is a hard-line Islamic fundamentalist in many respects and continuously attempts to steer the Blood Syndicate towards these beliefs.

Milestone Forever

He later clashed with Holocaust over leadership of the team; he defeated him and maintained leadership and later saved Icon from an ambush. He also had a son named Edmund.

Dwayne Mcduffie Tribute covers!!!

Here they are guys….well technically it’s the same cover in three different ways but I’m sure you will be happy because they are so sick!

The New Fantastic Four

The New Fantastic Four

In the absence of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, Black Panther and Storm take up the challenge as the newest members of the Fantastic Four. But there is no time to ease into the job, as the Four are flung into a space epic that will see them battle the cosmic-powered Epoch; the Silver Surfer and Stardust; and the FF’s most powerful foe, the planet-eater Galactus! Back on Earth, the Wizard plots revenge on Mr. Fantastic – and he isn’t about to let millions of miles of airless vacuum get in the way, following his enemy to the moon Titan with a new and expanded Frightful Four! Can the new FF defeat Galactus and return in time to save the team’s absent founders? Collects Fantastic Four #544-550.


2008 Glyph Award Winner

Fan Award for Best Comic: Fantastic Four: The New Fantastic Four; Dwayne McDuffie, writer, Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar, artists

Holocaust/Pyre-Leonard Smalls Jr.

First Appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, April 1993

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

Nationality: American

Team Affiliations: Blood Syndicate and Star Chamber

Legal Status: U.S citizen with criminal record

Weight: 250 lbs    Height: 6’7

Eyes: Black             Hair: Black

Known Relatives: Unknown

Skills and abilities: Skilled street fighter.

Powers: Increased durability and Strength able to go toe to toe with Superboy. His primary power is Pyrokinesis, able to start and control all kinds of flames or fires. His body is also hotter than a normal human one enabling to start fires with saliva and even his blood. He is also immune to fire and heat. On occasion he has been shown to blow things up by heating them from within.


Leonard smalls Jr. was the son of Dakota mayor and her husband Leonard Sr. He was always a sadistic and cold man who on his sixteenth birthday killed his father with his own hands (Milestone Forever #1). He then left hem and joined the ‘Paris Bloods’, Dakota’s most powerful gang. Leonard gained a reputation as a high-ranking warlord of the Paris Bloods, who made his reputation and status as the ice-cold ‘enforcer’ for their drug dealing operation (Card 32).

After the Big Bang he gained supherhuman physical attributes and the ability to project intense heat and fire. He was tracked down by Tech-9, Flashback and Fade who were on a recruitment drive while on Paris Island. While he initially turned down the offer after careful consideration he saw the merit of being involved with a superhuman gang. He went to the house of Wise Son and threatened his sister to force him to join the gang with him. Fade, Tech-9, Flashback, Third Rail, Wise son and Holocaust then christened their new gang the Blood Syndicate since they were made up of the remnants of the Force Syndicate and the Paris Bloods. While on the first mission they met Masquerade who also joined the gang (Blood Syndicate #9).

Tension between himself and Tech-9 soon started to mount as he was sadistic, cruel and wanted to still be a criminal and Tech wanted to turn the team more toward heroics. While rescuing citizens and torching drugs he engulfed the whole building despite being told by Tech-9 to just burn the drugs. He then challenged Tech-9 for control of the syndicate in a ‘trial by combat’ (Blood Syndicate #1) and lost.

On his own he joined the Star Chamber and tricked Rocket into turning against Icon and battling the Shadow Cabinet briefly. He learned the secret behind the Big Bang and managed to get a vial of pure quantum juice though he was defeated by Icon (Icon #9-10). clashed with Static.

After the original blood syndicate disbanded he created a new one with members from the original and his new gang. Here he tried to take over Dakota and clashed with Icon. Later on he clashed with Black Lightning who had shut down his casino he was defeated again and later clashed with Static shock and the teen titans.

D-Struct: Damon Briggs

Created by Kurt Busiek

1st appearance: Static #12

Nationality: American

Weight: 172 lbs    Height: 5’9

Eyes:Brown              Hair: Black

Known Relatives: Mr. Briggs (Father), Mother (fate unknown)
Skills and abilities: Proficient in the use of firearms due to gang membership. Streetfighting.

Powers: He can transform into a large creature made from molten rock granting him superhuman strength, endurance and resilience. He can also produce a combustive compound from his mouth.

Facts: He also appeared on the Static Shock tv series.


An ex-gang member who was caught up in the big bang event. After surviving that ordeal he quit the gang and returned to highs school to finish his senior year and graduate. When surviving gang members learned he was alive he was attacked for what they saw as abandonment. Using his powers he fought them off and came to the attention of static shock. He later clashed with static when said gang members captured his father. Together they defeated the gang and him and his father left Dakota to find a better life. He got a job with Alva Technologies and teamed up with Hardware later.

Icon #3 Review


Our heroes battle the man who now calls himself Payback. Icon at one point gets taken down and Rocket gives chase into the sewers where they continue their battle. Icon meanwhile deals with the rest of the thugs and flies the mayor down to safety where the press have a field day with their new hero. Rocket defeats the creature who once returned to normal form explains how the mayor had used experimental gas to subdue the people during the “big bang” which left hundreds dead and fewer still changed into super powered beings like him. Icon tells him to turn himself in, in exchange he will give him a lawyer and ensure an investigation of the Big Bang and to bring those responsible to justice. He reluctantly agrees and they hand him over to the cops. Two weeks later the mayor gives Icon the key to the city and Icon informs Rocket that she is pregnant.

The Good

Rocket is now easily my favorite black super heroine :) This girl is the star of the show and I love her! She has the right attitude for the crime fighting game and is more relatable on a personal level. Sure she’ll never get the accolades Icon does despite doing all the grunt work as it may BUT this girl can kick some ass! Honestly I can’t stop Gushing.

The art is growing on me with each new issue I read it is definatly a style that I’ll always think of when I recall Icon and Rocket. The conspiracy theory is brought to light here and indeed it will be the basis of the dakaotaverse’s super beings, which I like. Warring gangs/riots and teargas go hand in hand, hell I’ve been gassed once simply by walking by a riot at the wrong time. So I understand Payback and how he got caught in up in all this. I also get that some people are above the law with the mayor’s involvement in the whole mess. Those last pages were a shocker….teenage pregnancy in comics? I’ve never seen that Shit before!

The Bad

Icon while in theory is a “black superman” gets taken down pretty easily during the fight.

The Ugly



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