Review: Charlton Bullseye #1

Charlton Bullseye (1981) #1 cover
Cover by Dan Reed and Bob McLeod

Charlton Bullseye #1
Published and © by Charlton, June 1981

Title: “The Enigma!”
Synopsis: The Question and Blue Beetle team to rescue Beetle’s Bug from the clutches of the Enigma.

Writer: Benjamin Smith
Penciler: Dan Reed
Inker: Reed and Al Val

Review: After decades as a second-string-but-solid publisher, Charlton entered the 1980s struggling to survive. Desperate, the company was open to experimenting with free labor. The result was Charlton Bullseye #1, basically a glorified fanzine that offered creators exposure in lieu of payment. The results were mixed, at best. This debut issue isn’t awful, though this superhero tale lacks both depth and originality (Benjamin Smith gets the story credit, but the plot is by “A. Committee” with “Anon O. Mouse” on dialogue). Dan Reed’s figure drawing shows potential, but his backgrounds are sparse and his storytelling lacks polish.

Grade: C-

Cool factor: An ’80s appearance of Blue Beetle and the Question prior to their absorption into the DCU.
Not-so-cool factor: The characters deserved better … such as creative talent that got paid!

Character quotable: “Do madmen ever have rational motives?” – The Question

A word from the assistant editor: “The editors thought the story was dumb, and made a lot of changes on the penciled pages.” – Bill Pearson, talking about the quality of this Blue Beetle/Question story on the “What’s Coming Next?” page in this issue

Editor’s note: This review was written Aug. 23, 2010.

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