Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"The End" Week: Firearm #18!


Most people would probably strongly disagree, but for James Robinson? I preferred Firearm to Starman. Yeah, I said it.

Firearm #18, "The Rafferty Saga, Finale: Alec Swan's Worst Day" Written by James Robinson, pencils by Arnie Jorgenson and Keith Conroy, inks by Mike Christian and Larry Welch. This issue is an old fashioned church shoot-out, just like John Woo used to make! Why, there's even a baby to rescue!

Swan, the former British agent codenamed "Firearm," has been playing a game of cat-and-mouse with Rafferty, the psychotic serial killer of Ultras--the Ultraverse's super-powered types. Swan doesn't have any powers, and has even lost his namesake gun; while Rafferty has a small army of backup, and a churchload of hostages, including a baby Ultra who was being heralded as the Second Coming...
Although he was being paid by a self-loathing Ultra, Rafferty had his own reasons for his murders (over the last few issues and a couple crossovers, we see a lot of them, although in the best comic book tradition, maybe not anyone we know...) and had been stringing Swan along for his own amusement, describing him as "comic relief...postively vaudevillian." Rafferty also had set up Ultra-sensitive bombs outside to keep out the powered heroes, but lets Swan come right in, and that's where the shooting starts.

If you liked Jack Knight's internal monologue in Starman; I think Swan's is actually better. Both hint at rich lives outside of the nonsense we see on the comic pages: reading, being lazy, and recently married. Rafferty gets his own caption boxes as well, but his are mostly to the effect of "don't get too attached to Swan, gentle readers..."

Although he brings knives and a crossbow to a gunfight, Rafferty also brings bombs; blowing up the church when Swan surprises him with a backup gun. Miraculously, Swan survives, protecting the baby; but Rafferty does as well, throwing his last knife in a final try at the baby. Swan takes the knife, putting a last bullet in Rafferty's head, then stumbles out of the flaming church. Luckily for the dying Swan, the baby had been heralded as the Second Coming for at least one good reason, and heals Swan; at least enough that he survives.

Before the Ultraverse completely disappeared, Swan would return as a backup feature, to the rather charmless Codename: Firearm. Read this series instead.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

You're a brave soul for picking this over Starman, but then if you didn't, you wouldn't be Goo now would you?;)

I haven't honestly read this series, only heard of it, but no doubt Robinson probably made this a better book than it might have been.

Oh, and you're wrong. Starman was better:)