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Review: E-Man #4

E-Man #4
Cover by Joe Staton

E-Man #4
Published and © by Charlton, August 1974

Title: “City in the Sand”
Synopsis: An archeological expedition takes Nova and E-Man to Egypt – and on an adventure to a super-science city in the past!

Writer: Nicola Cuti 
Penciler: Joe Staton
Inker: Staton

Review: Several scenes from this one are problematic when viewed through the lens of today’s social mores. (Blackface? Try black-all-over body paint.) Looking past that, E-Man remains madcap fun. Nova Kane – dedicated college student by day, “exotic dancer” by night – is developing into a surprisingly complex character for the era.

•••

Title: “Killjoy”
Synopsis: Killjoy again foils the “rights” of entitled criminals, this time facing off against Killer Ded, S.S.S.Snake and others.

Writer: Steve Ditko
Penciler: Ditko
Inker: Ditko

Review: This one is similar to Killjoy’s first outing (see review): Inspired cartooning, but it’s a political rant, not a story.

Grade (for the entire issue): B-

Cool factor: Nova Kane gets more interesting every issue.
Not-so-cool factor: Killjoy is interesting, but not a fun read. At all.

Notable:  According to Joe Staton (in an interview in Back Issue #13, December 2005), this issue’s lead story was originally meant for E-Man #3, but a publishing delay due to nationwide paper shortage allowed the creative team to deliver a more timely story about energy brownouts for that issue (see review).
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a Modern reprint of this issue from 1978.

Character quotable: “Travel back in time! We could lift the curtain of speculation and find truth!” – Nova Kane (what could possibly go wrong with that idea?)

A word from the writer/co-creator: “She’s very comfortable with being a woman and very comfortable with her body. But at the same time, she is an intellectual and so the dichotomy of that is something I play around with quite a bit.” – Nicola Cuti, talking about the complexity of Nova Kane, in Back Issue #13, December 2005

Editor’s note: This review was written Feb. 25, 2021.

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