Slightly Tarnished – a “Gold Key: Alliance” #1 (review)

Apr 10, 2016

Mad Cave Studios


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gold-key-alliance-1Gold Key: Alliance #1

Writer: Phil Hester
Brent Peeples

I write this review with a heavy heart. Because after reading Justice Inc. last year, I had high hopes for another such gig in 2016. Don’t get me wrong. Gold Key: all new suicide coverAlliance #1 puts all of the right chess pieces in place. It’s just that it does not get wired up tight enough for me to get super excited about the rest of the series.

Gold Key: Alliance is pretty much exactly what its title says. Dynamite now owns the rights to several Gold Key (a comics publisher that used to be around from 1962 – 1984) properties. There are more to track down and recruit. Despite that being the case, Dynamite is not above putting one to four of its newly obtained properties in new comics while we wait. Gold Key: Alliance gives us Samson, Solar, Magnus the Robot Fighter, and Turok in a Golden Age team-up. Issue #1 is pretty much a setup episode. And you kind of have to know where these characters are rooted or where they are most recently coming from in order to surmount the Cold Open.

GoldKey01-07-79cd7Let me say that all of the pieces are here for a great follow-up act. I have the fullest confidence that this series is going to hit some full notes pretty shortly, and build up to a roar very quickly. But issue #1 is a bit unfulfilling. Only because it does not hook you with a powerful reveal or big cliffhangar. Each of the characters invokes the appropriate amount of nostalgia and reverence. I love the opening vignette with Samson. I just wanted something a bit brighter to sink my teeth into.

The art is similar. Solid, not particularly daring, that’s about it. The opening panel of Samson is both shocking and a welcome bit of the thrilling, as it catches you entirely off-guard. After that, it’s really a big talking heads book, with a lot of exposition. There just really was not a lot of space for the artist to do much of anything other than clinically going through the paneling process to get each character from where they are to where they need to be.

Gold Key: Alliance #1 leaves the series with some serious challenges. I am sure that the series and the creative team, has the umph to overcome them. As it stands, I’ll have to hope for a more adventure-oriented take in next month’s issue.