Monday, January 10, 2011

Exploring the Insa-NINETIES: Jack Flag

It's time for another journey into those wonderfully wild, and woefully underrated, 1990s; A time when men could only grimace and scream while the women just pouted and posed. Today, we'll be looking at the America-themed hero, Jack Flag.

You remember Jack Flag, right? Popped up ever so briefly at the end of Gruenwald's Captain American run? Looks like Grifter (from the WildC.A.T.S) but with multicolored hair? Most recently a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy after he was paralyzed by Bullseye?

Still nothing? Well, you don't know what you're missing.

As a quick aside before we get started, I gotta talk about how strange the Fighting Chance story arc was. Nominally, it was a story line born out of the time period where every major hero had to go through some kind of major change, be it death, a crippling, or a cloning. In this case, the super soldier serum flowing through Cap's body was slowly destroying him. So Cap, in his infinite wisdom, decided to keep this from everyone and go 'tie up some lose ends' before his body gives out.

Anyway, so you'd think that this, chapter 10 of 12 would be neck deep in big decisions, character reveals, talk of a successor, and/or the start of a big fight with the major bad guy of the arc. You'd think, but you'd be wrong. Instead, we get this guy:

Don't get me wrong, the man's got a flair for theatrics and I'm VERY glad that he exists, I just wonder about the timing of introducing a new character that close to the end of a major storyline, and more, don't involve him in the the major storyline. Just seems weird, but what do I know, I'm just a guy reading the book 16 years later.

Whatevs. Jack Flag arrives on the scene brandishing quite possibly the coolest weapon ever.

That's right, a WEAPONIZED BOOM BOX.

Man, you put him and that thing on a motorcycle on a cross country road trip with the Ghost Riders and Nomad to discover America and I think you'd have the greatest comic ever written. EVER.

So, he pops on the scene to take down the Serpent Society (I mean, duh, who else would he take out with his boom box?), only to get caught in the act by the head snake himself, King Cobra. So he does what any of us would do, and spit out the most ridiculous lie he can think of.

And they buy it. Well, kinda...

Well, not really. I mean, come on, it's not exactly the best undercover act in the world and he his dealing with the fourth or fifth most prominent terrorist society in the Marvel Universe. They play ball though, sending him on a fetch quest that will force him to cross paths with Mr. Hyde.

It quickly turns out exactly how you think it would.

Somehow, miraculously, Jack's able to use some nearby props to distract Hyde and scamper off before he knows what happened.

So now that he knows that the Serpent Society knows he's totally talking out of his ass, what does he do? Goes right back to the Serpent Society, of course. What he lacks in brains, he makes up in testicular fortitude, I guess.

Jack's reappearance with the Serpent Society is marked with what is quite possibly one of my favorite reaction shots of all time.

Hats off to you, Jack Flag. May you get your outer space shit together so you can come back with your boom box and fight for your strange definition of the American dream.

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