Firearm #1 (September 1993)
Cover Art: Howard Chaykin
Title: American Pastimes Part One
Writer: James Robinson
Penciler: Cully Hamner
Inker: John Lowe
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Designer: Paul Mounts
Editor: Chris Ulm
We open with Ernie Shadrack wanting to know where Alec Swan is with his bail jumper. That’s when Swan (Firearm – more on that later) comes crashing through the window with the O’Malley. A short fight ensues (continues) and O’Malley is taken out with a water cooler. Swan demands more money because Shadrack told him that O’Malley had limited Ultra Powers, not the full extent of those powers. Shadrack argues and calls him Firearm, a name which Swan apparently hates.
Alec goes home, gets himself cleaned up and goes to his office. He has an unmarked office because his last few had been attacked by Ultras. He gets an offer for some Hockey tickets, a message that some Japanese prints are in, and a lead on another case. See, he’s a P.I. type that specializes in Ultra work, although that’s not all he does.
He meets with a woman that was to be married to an former Marine that has gone missing. She had already filed a missing persons report, but decided to hire Alec Swan anyway.
He checks his normal informants and typical places (where Arnie worked, etc.) as well as checks in with Ben Travers. A cop that helps him when he can. In fact they are planning to see the Kings game that night.
Alec is driving to the game later, and is attacked by a vehicle full of gun waving madmen. After dispatching them, and losing his vehicle in the process, a police cruiser pulls up. Not a good thing for our man Swan, as the cruiser contains a lizard looking Ultra out to kill Swan as well. Seems there is more to the case of the missing groom than there first appeared to be.
A fight follows and Swan finally takes the thing out in a somewhat creative way.
Right off the bat you can see that this book is going to be different. There an inner monologue going on throughout the initial fight scene. Alec Swan introduces himself, as well as humoring us with a bit of self-deprecating humor. He’s not the pretty boy hero that most comics go for. He is a scarred, cranky ex English agent of an outfit called the Lodge. His code name there was Firearm, due to the gun he carries.
His inner monologue also is filled with old movie, book and other references. This is something that carries throughout the series, and even becomes a huge discussion piece for the letter columns (remember those?) I will be covering these in a separate entry here, as there are a lot of them.
I remember being told by a comic shop owner that saw some of the books I was buying at the time that I should check this book out. It was on the second or third issue at the time. I did, and I loved it.
Oh yeah, there is also a very loose tie in to his later book Starman within one of these issues. I’ll be sure to mention it when it happens. It’s just a minor thing, but cool if you bought and read both books.