365 Reasons to Love Comics #223

I have finally seen Hot Fuzz, my most anticipated movie of the year, and it definitely lived up to my lofty expectations. Since I'm now mildly obsessed with the police action genre, let's take a look at the best cops in comics. (I hope that someone gets my archive in a bottle)


223. Code: BLUE

Yeah, Marvel's relatively obscure team of elite super-SWAT cops are the best bobbies in the comics business. Forget the Metropolis SCU or the Powers gang or even the Gotham Central crew, as much as I love 'em-- Code: BLUE rules all.

The Code: BLUE team-- Marcus Stone! Rigger Ruiz! Mad Dog Rassitano! Fireworks Fielstein! Jock Jackson! Mother Majowski!-- were created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz during their great Thor run, and carried over into their Thunderstrike run. The elite squadron of New York's Finest was put together in order to combat menaces that regular cops couldn't handle-- so yeah, these boys (and lady) in blue drove around in an A-Team van and battled super-villains and monsters from other worlds.

DeFalco and Frenz introduced Lieutenant Marcus Stone first. He was a regular, world-weary cop who became entangled in several Thor adventures. Little did we readers know at the time that he would soon become the Marvel Universe's greatest badass, like Samuel L. Jackson and Sarge from the Halo video games put together. Mostly, though, he was a nod to Dan Turpin from Kirby's New Gods, who would join DC's Special Crimes Unit, the Code: BLUE of Metropolis. On Stone's last day before retirement (a golden cop cliche) he crossed paths with the evil troll Ulik, and they underwent a battle quite similar to Kirby's own Turpin/Kalibak match. Stone and the rock troll would have a feud that'd stretch over another few dozen issues. Here are Stone's finest moments against Ulik:

The rest of the team was cool, though, don't get me wrong. I enjoyed Mad Dog's constant flirting with more-woman-than-he-could-handle Rigger along with the general team camaraderie. Mother was a a mix of Mick and Paulie from Rocky, with some Hannibal from A-Team and Jack Kirby and Sgt. Rock and others mixed in. Mad Dog was the quip-cracker, Fireworks was the family man, Jock was the rookie and the nice guy, Captain Conklin was the tough-but-caring boss, etc. Standard tropes, but DeFalco gave them a lot of heart. Yeah, they were his pet characters throughout the run, but dangit, I liked 'em.

The team really grew on you, and that continued over into Thunderstrike, where they even took the spotlight away from the title character quite often. Jock Jackson heroically sacrificed himself to save Thunderstrike, the team faced off against a new robot member, and they even got their own little mini-series, presented as a flipbook with Thunderstrike. Can't find any decent cover scans online, though, and the issue I have is too beat up to show you all, sorry. Roy Thomas scripted it; it wasn't so hot, but it gave 'em more page-time.

Outside of DeFalco, not too many creators have used Code: BLUE, especially to any great effect. Most recently, Fabian Nicieza brought them back in New Thunderbolts, and DeFalco and Frenz stuck a few of 'em into Spider-Girl, revamping Mad Dog as a "Dog the Bounty Hunter" sort of figure.

I would love to see them again, and think they could definitely carry their own mini-series. Stone and the gang could easily return in a high-octane hot-lead-flying action/adventure epic: a rock and roll shoot-'em-up, blow-'em-up, punch-'em-up cops-and-super-robbers extravaganza. And why not? These are the guys who took down Uroc, a troll made of uru, fought a rogue Doombot, wiped the floor with the Wrecking Crew, and invaded Asgard. They're humans who have proven that they can hold their own against villains and gods and monsters. They are truly the hottest fuzz in comics.

For a surprisingly detailed history of the Code: BLUE team, check out their profile on Marvel's website. And for an issue-by-issue breakdown of appearances, you've got the Marvel Appendix.

What do you think about Code: BLUE? Great cops or greatest cops?

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