COMICS: John Reviews “Dynamo 5, Vol. 2” by Jay Faerber and M.A. Asrar

Moments of Truth

Dynamo 5 Vol. 2: Moments of Truth

If Dynamo 5 Vol. 1: Post-Nuclear Family is the story of the rise of the Dynamo 5, Dynamo 5 Vol. 2: Moments of Truth is the story of their fall.  Tensions mount within the group, enemies accumulate and organize, and everything comes to an explosive head that forever alters the staus quo for these characters (but let’s not kid ourselves here.  We’re talking about the world of comic books, where the status quo is constantly being either “forever changed” or “going back to what made the book great.”)  In addition to the usual superheroic battles, the children of Captain Dynamo must also deal with overprotective parents, out-of-body experiences, racism, xenophobia and the shocking revelation that one of the 5 is not who s/he appears to be.

Maintaining the themes and tone of volume 1, Faerber and Asrar continue to supply a seamless blend of capes-‘n-tights action and prime-time drama, sprinkled with a touch of comedy.  The fact that the Dynamo 5 are not career heroes and do have lives separate from their costumes is an important facest of the characters, one that is explored in depth throughout Moments of Truth.  Yet even as the characters wrestle with adversity and somewhat “sensitive” issues, its tone never drops into the grim-‘n-gritty fare that so many of its competitors have adopted.  Mahmud A. Asrar’s art really helps to keep the mood friendly and upbeat, as he continues to hone and refine the style he developed for Post-Nuclear Family. Ron Riley’s vibrant colors complement Asrar’s art extremely well, especially the bright, bold reds.  Together, they remind me of the cartoon tie-in books of the 1990s (X-Men Adventures, Spider-Man Adventures, WildCATS Adventures) that emulated the clean, simple and accessible visual style of the shows themselves.  And while I wouldn’t say that Dynamo 5 is the sort of comic I’d recommend to a child just beginning to learn to read, the subject matter in both volumes is still less objectionable than what I was reading at the tender age of eight (ah, the ’90s.  No hero was safe from shockingly graphic tragedy!)

If you enjoyed the first volume of Dynamo 5, picking up the second should be a foregone conclusion.  Faerber and Asrar continue to steamroll the unstoppable juggernaut that is Dynamo 5 over their darker, less interesting competition.  If you’re intrigued by what I’ve written about this volume, I suggest you start with the first.  There are a number of story elements in Moments of Truth that began in Post-Nuclear Family, so I highly recommend you begin at the beginning (and don’t stop until you reach the end!)

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