Saturday, December 12, 2009

Out of the Vault- Electric Warrior

So here we are, back in 1986 again. What can I say? It was an exciting, even seminal time in comics. And DC Comics were totally on top of their game that year, producing an incredible string of hits: Watchmen, Legends, Batman: Year One, the Giffen and deMatteis Justice League.

But they had some forgettable comics as well, such as Electric Warrior, by Doug Moench and Jim Baikie.

Electric Warrior takes place in a future society that will feel very familiar to readers of sci-fi dystopias. There's this city, see, where rich people live in penthouses in total luxury, while down on the streets, people have descended to a primitive, almost bestial way of life, scavenging off the garbage that gets tossed down from above. And there are these other people who decide cities are evil, so they go off to the woods and live in harmony with nature, and they're so much more vital and alive than those city assholes, like noble savages and all that shit.

The city leaders use robots known as Electric Warriors, or "Leks," to keep the brutish Zigs under control.

But one Lek, unit 9-03, develops a conscience and human emotions and breaks away from his programming to rebel against his masters.

At the same time, an anthropologist from the city visits an enclave of the primitives, or "primmies," where she meets handsome Derek Two-Shadow. He is intrigued by her, but rejects her request to return to the city.

Of course, it all goes wrong. Spurred by the discovery of a threat to the existence of mankind, the city magistrate orders his remaining Leks to begin capturing primmies for a secret project intended to avert their evil fate.

Unit 9-03 is destroyed, and then in issue 9, his parts are reused to rebuild Derek Two-Shadow into a new kind of Warrior, one with a human brain. Derek rebels against the magistrate, which is when he learns the nature of the approaching threat: a fleet of starships from Earth, coming to destroy the planet (?).

The series was intriguing, but never really came together into the total package I kept hoping it would be. Moench was an old comics hand, trying to stay up-to-date and relevant, but his slang-speaking Zigs and preachy, humorless primmies really dragged the book down. The most interesting character was the robot, and he was killed off in issue 6. Baikie's art was interesting as well. Jagged and European-looking, it lost some of its character when Pablo Marcos started inking in issue 5 or so.

But I stuck with it. I think I was under the impression that Electric Warrior was going to be a 12-issue limited series. so I figured I would stay with it until it resolved. However, when issue 12 came and went with no final resolution, I dropped out. The series ended 6 issues later and is virtually forgotten today.

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