Jim Shooter seems to have a new purpose in comics these days, and it’s to bring back old comic properties at Dark Horse. If “Magnus, Robot Fighter” and “Dr. Solar, Man of the Atom” weren’t enough, his latest revival project is “Mighty Samson.” Unfortunately, after this first issue, I think that perhaps two books really were more than enough.
The setting is one that just about any science-fiction or comics fan is familiar with, a post-apocalypse society where everything has descended (technology, society, agriculture) to an earlier time period, and the N’Yark and Jerz tribes are attacking one another, again. It’s business as usual until Alma’s new son, Samson, is shown to have mighty strength. Sentenced to death, Alma and Samson slip out beyond the walls, but are quickly adopted into a new secret group to protect them from the monsters that ravage the countryside. Nineteen years later, the pair return, and of course, more trouble follows.
“Mighty Samson” is a strange series of cliches and dialogue disasters, to the point that you start to wonder if this is supposed to be funny. “This is my mother. She’s dead.” Yes, that’s really how Samson introduces himself to the N’Yack tribe, complete with dead mother (and an arrow sticking out of her chest) slumped in his arms. Then again, Alma’s death is so ludicrously comical that it’s not like you’re feeling bad for her getting carted around like a side of beef.
For a book with a nineteen year gap in the middle, it’s slightly amazing how the only thing that changes is Samson shifting from newborn to fully grown adult. Petty arguments pick up right where they left off, Samson’s father Tranquility acts like his wife and son had just wandered down to the store for milk rather than being gone and presumed dead all this time, and bad guys still have burning anger for someone they last saw two decades earlier, as an infant.
Patrick Olliffe’s art is the best thing about “Mighty Samson” #1, but it’s not the best I’ve seen from Olliffe. Characters look stiff and rough around the edges, and apparently the apocalypse involved a whole lot of steroids going into the water supply based on how these warriors are built. Fight scenes look more like a jumble of body parts than an actual battle, and it’s a shame because I’ve seen books from Olliffe that were much more visually appealing than “Mighty Samson” #1.
Last but not least, Samson himself? Not an interesting character. He goes from infant, to gleeful muscleman, to the guy telling his two brand-new slaves, “Silence, chattel,” when one tries to introduce himself to Samson. Maybe down the line he’ll develop a personality, and perhaps treat his slaves a bit better and free them, but after this wooden first issue, I can’t see myself sticking around to find out.