July 6, 2010

U.S. 1 #12 [1984]

Well, what can you say about U.S. 1? A short-lived series from Marvel based on a toy-line, Ditko was brought in to do the final issue, published the same month he began his long run on a more successful toy-based comic, ROM. The 23-page story with the somewhat inspired title "The Truck Stops Here" is written by Al Milgrom and inked by Danny Bulanadi.

This being the only issue of the series I've read, I'm sure I'm missing many of the subtleties, but there's a lot of expository recapping that explains the story of aliens coming to Earth, looking for a human for an interplanetary mission, picking the wrong guy from a pair of trucker brothers, leading to this point where U.S. Archer has to race his truck U.S. 1 around the world against his brother Jefferson, aka The Highwayman, driving Blackrig.

And I almost hate to say it, but it's not bad. Milgrom seems perfectly aware of how absurd all this is (I hope...), and plays it for the camp value (like the CB radio embedded in U.S.'s skull). Ditko does a solid job with some dense storytelling, and while most of the characters and settings don't lend themselves to anything flashy, he does a good job with the alien and the space fleet. Even Danny Bulanadi, definitely not my favourite Ditko inker of the era (he does most of Ditko's INDIANA JONES issues) does a decent job here.

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