Yesterday’s post about Thor the Mighty Avenger got me thinking about another great short-lived series. Part of the DC Comics / Archie joint venture that was !mpact Comics. The Fly was a short-lived series that starred teenager Jason Troy who transformed into a superhero with a magic amulet given to him by a mysterious teacher. The !mpact line was DC re-imagining Archie’s superhero line. The Fly was easily the highlight of the line, followed by The Black Hood.
The Fly was a fun, typically lighthearted superhero title. Written by Len Strazewski and penciled by the also gone-too-soon Mike Parobeck. Although Parobeck is more well-known for his work on Batman Adventures, this is the pinnacle of his work for me. Drawing in his own style, as opposed to sticking closer to the look of the animated series on Batman. I also feel this work is superior to his Justice Society of America run, as I prefer the inks on this.
Unique villains also came to characterize the book. One of the most notable was Chromium, the second in command of a crime boss with mechanical spider legs. How this metal-faced character didn’t warrant a 90’s chromium gimmick cover is surprising. Jason also faced off against earthquake and baseball themed foes. He also encountered blackjack, fire, and dolphin themed allies.
It’s easy to see how playing up some of the quirkier aspects of the series would fit in well with some of the books DC is currently producing. Unfortunately, the series was cut down after 17 issues and one annual. The insult to injury came in the conclusion of the book. After Jason has gone missing, and his grandfather searching for him for 6 months, it is revealed that the Fly and all of the other !mpact heroes just up and vanished. In the context of the title being cancelled, it plays as a meta ending. The character would also be featured in the Crusaders and later, Crucible, the !mpact line’s attempt at a reboot. Crucible would tie up what had happened to the heroes and acted as an ending to their adventures. Reading the book on a monthly basis though, led to a unsatisfying conclusion to his solo book.
DC later took another stab at some of the Archie heroes a few years back with their Red Circle stable of books, absent the Fly. When the rights reverted back, Archie tried their New Crusaders books starring the offspring of the original versions of the heroes. The current Dark Circle imprint from Archie is another reboot of the concepts. For characters that are pretty much a blank slate pop culture-wise, it’s surprising that no take on them really seems to stick.
As the individual !mpact titles ended, there were plans for a reboot. Mark Waid has talked about these plans online as he was involved. However, these plans never came about and I haven’t been able to find any info on the Fly being a part of them. Due to the right issues involved, and the failure of the line, there is virtually no chance of this version of the Fly ever returning. It’s a shame because it would have been interesting to see what the creators would have done with the storylines if they had been allowed to continue. This individual comic with imaginative characters would always be welcome in an industry flooded with sometimes homgeneous superheroes.
I’m not sure if this will become a regular feature on the blog. There are plenty of other series that could qualify for this, so let me know if you would be interested in others. Feel free to tell me in the comments or on Twitter @detective651.
Thanks for reading.