Review: Codename: Strikeforce #1

Codename: Strikeforce #1 cover
Cover by Tom Morgan

Codename: Strikeforce #1
Published and © by Spectrum, June 1984

Title: “Strikeforce!”
Synopsis: A new generation of the Strikeforce team suffers a tragic blow during its showdown with Contessa Del Marco.

Writer: Fred Schiller
Artist: Tom Morgan

Review: Direct distribution opened the door for two types of comics to make it to market: Quirky, creator-driven books and not-quite-ready-for-prime-time knockoffs of the Big Two. The output of indie publisher Spectrum tended to fall into the latter category. Writer Fred Schiller struggles most with this debut; there’s a big info dump to establish the series’ premise, which means too much tell and not enough show. Artist Tom Morgan’s work is stronger – there’s a heavy John Byrne influence and a touch of Sal Buscema – but his storytelling isn’t always clear. Still, Codename: Strikeforce showed promise and deserved a second issue.

Grade: C

Second opinion: “You can see that Codename: Strikeforce is a bit derivative but derivation is not necessarily a fatal flaw, especially if it is well handled. By and large, that is the case here.” – R.A. Jones, Amazing Heroes #53, Aug. 15, 1984

Cool factor: Would have been right at home as a middle-of-the-pack Marvel from this era.
Not-so-cool factor: Weren’t there already enough middle-of-the-pack Marvels during this era? (Also, what was up with that atrocious coloring?)

Notable: Both Fred Schiller and Tom Morgan would go on to work for Marvel.

Character quotable: “We’re lookin’ for a rematch and we’re mad as hell!!” – Pig-Iron (not to be confused with the member of Captain Carrot’s Zoo Crew)
A word from the writer: “Have fun, that’s what it’s all about.” – Fred Schiller, on the goal of Codename: Strikeforce, from the “Spectrum Spotlight” introductory essay in this issue

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Sequential Reaction (Vol. 1) on Sept. 23, 2016.

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