|These don't line up all that well.|
|Nothing about this is acceptable.|
But only one of these incarnations sank everyone with equal aplomb: The Living Assault Weapons, a.k.a THE LAW!
|"It's a really special day for me!"|
Produced by Bob Layton and Dick Giordano himself, the "revamped and updated" Charlton Action Heroes was largely an unwanted and unnecessary update. No one was asking for a new and different Blue Beetle or Question, who'd done perfectly well on their own.
Of the heroes who did receive major updates, it's tough to call much of them "improvements." Peacemaker, a hero most famous for wearing a toilet seat as a helmet, traded in his outhouse couture for a structurally anonymous red-and-yellow affair which made him look like a man armored in condiments. Nightshade, following an encounter with DC's interim 90's-era mystic Jared Stevens - the knife-laden, overcoat-bedecked "Fate"- ended up looking like a television with a broken vertical hold (alternately: A busty zebra, a dumped-over salt cellar on an asphalt street, a full-body prison suit, etc).
The all-powerful Avatar, of course, turned out to be an old Charlton hero, because any book with Captain Atom runs a real chance of repeating the errors of Armageddon 2001. Rip "Judomaster" Jagger's old sidekick Tiger taps into otherworldly demonic forces and becomes the flame-headed hater out on a mission of vengeance against war and its wagers, which is neat but you have to again ask the question "who is this book for?"
The LAW was missing a few key ingredients to bring back old fans -- the characters weren't only decked out in new and often-unflattering outfits, but they lacked the character and qualities they'd possessed both in previous DC appearances and in their old Charlton days. Also missing was any appeal to new readers, confounded with just enough nod-and-knowing-wink references to voluminous backstory to baffle any baby-faced newcomers.
Probably the problem with LAW -- and the reason that it fizzled after this appearance -- was that it was trying to revamp and update almost a dozen characters all at once in the same story. With only six issues with which to work its magic, LAW short-shrifted almost everyone involved, including the creative team. The next time most of these characters showed up, they'd either be wildly different or back to where they were beforehand, making the entire series a bit of a bad memory ...
|Ah-ahhh, he'll save every one of us.|