Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Atlas Comics, Ironjaw #1. Just a normal, regular guy.

Atlas Comics Ironjaw #1, Neal Adams cover
The power of this blog’s incredible. I start reviewing Atlas Comics, and Martin Goodman’s grandson promptly declares Atlas Comics is to make a comeback, with returns for the Phoenix and the Grim Ghost. I don’t know if I should use such power for good or for evil.

One Atlas hero not yet revived is Ironjaw the barbarian who, we’re told is a hero like no other.

Well, that might be because his first instinct upon meeting men is to kill them, his first instinct upon meeting children is to kill them and his first instinct upon meeting women is to rape them.

But don’t worry. Our hero has a softer side. In between raping and killing, he likes to philosophize. He spends his time chuntering on about how cowards deserve to die, the old deserve to die, the weak deserve to be bullied and women are a total waste of space.

With a personality like that you might think he’d have a huge circle of friends but, oddly enough, when we first encounter him, he’s on his own. He has a horse - which hasn’t run out on him, so I assume he at least hasn’t tried raping that yet. But, while out looking for things to kill, Ironjaw comes across a nubile blonde and her ageing father being attacked by bad people. Needless to say, he leaves the man to die but rescues the girl so he can take her back to a cave to rape her. Bafflingly, this seems to win her over and, before you know it, she’s happy to be his new girlfriend. That’s when they’re captured by the local guard.

It seems that, unknown to him, Ironjaw's the son of the King and Queen, who want him dead.

Atlas Comics Ironjaw #1, How not to talk to your own sister
Ironjaw meets his sister!
Still, at least he’s not an only child. He has a sister, who, upon meeting her, he immediately tries to rape. Seriously, I’m not making this up. This is like some weird send-up of Conan but seems to be meant to be taken seriously.

Happily for Ironjaw - but perhaps unhappily for the rest of humanity - our hero takes a break from trying to rape everyone, for long enough to escape. But, just as he’s about to leave, he decides he’s not got tired of humping his new girlfriend yet, and so might as well go back and give her one get her out of her dungeon. Continued Next Issue.

It’s easy to make fun of Atlas Comics’ comics. The fact they all failed before reaching even issue #5 makes them soft meat when portraying them as an object lesson in how not to do graphic narrative but this comic really is terrible. It gives us a hero who’d be a villain in any tale not created by madmen, and its most eye-popping feature is its last-page editorial which tells us that writer Michael "The Spectre" Fleisher (it’s him again) has deliberately made Ironjaw like a real-life human being, doing and saying only the things a real-life man would.

All I can say is, “Michael Fleisher; who exactly were you hanging around with in those days?”


Andrew Wahl said...


I haven't read this one yet. Our friend Iron Jaw stars in Atlas' The Barbarians #1, as well. Sadly, killing and raping are a recurring theme in that one, too. Sigh.

Still, I'm excited to see these properties return. And, with J.M. DeMatteis at the helm, I've actually got high hopes.


Steve said...

I've never read the Grim Ghost but I have always felt the Phoenix had the most potential of the Atlas characters that I have read, so it'll be interesting to see if they can have more luck with him second time round.

cerebus660 said...

Ironjaw: ugly character, ugly comic. The "other" Atlas barbarian, Wulf, was a more interesting ( and sane! ) character, with some nice artwork by Larry Hama and Klaus Janson.

The new Atlas line sounds promising. Hope they get some decent creators on board.

Aaron said...

Strangely, some of this is not even unlike some "mature" comics of recent years.

Andrew Wahl said...


Finally read Ironjaw #1 today. I think it fell into the "so bad it's good" category for me. The character spouts more quotables per issues than perhaps any other character. (After this, I'm done with Atlas books for a month or two. Too many might melt the brains!)


Steve Does Comics said...

I think you're probably doing the right thing in taking a break from them. However, I still have Wulf the Barbarian, The Scorpion and Phoenix #3 to get through. Will my mind survive?

Paul Saxton said...

Great post (as usual). Would love to see more of Ironjaw. Any knocking around online that you're aware of? I mean, I don't want to buy it...

Steve W. said...

I don't know if anyone would be mad enough to unleash it onto the internet. You could try looking on Diversions of the Groovy Kind.

Doc Thompson said...

Ironjaw,although unique is fantasy fiction,was really quite stupid