Review: Phoenix #1

Phoenix #1 cover
Cover uncredited (probably by Sal Amendola and Dick Giordano)

Phoenix #1
Published and © by Atlas (Seaboard), January 1975

Title: “From the Ashes”
Synopsis: An astronaut rescued in the Arctic by aliens flees when he discovers his saviors’ plan to obliterate humanity.

Writer: Jeff Rovin
Artist: Sal Amendola

Review: While many publishers would attempt to challenge the Big Two during the 1980s, Atlas (Seaboard) took its swing for the fences in 1975. Unfortunately, a good deal of the publisher’s line read like second-rate Marvels, and even its better titles were often hit-and-miss. Put Phoenix solidly in the hit-and-miss column. Though not shockingly original, Jeff Rovin’s origin story lays the groundwork for an interesting series. Sal Amendola’s figure drawing ranges from dynamic to erratic,  but his storytelling is consistently above average. It’s a shame later issues would choose to make radical course corrections instead of building on this strong debut.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “A true mess of a comic.” – FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “… decently written by Jeff Rovin and well drawn by the underrated Sal Amendola … .” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: There’s just something about the entire Atlas (Seaboard) line that makes them kind of cool.

Notable: In the Atlas universe, former DC publisher Carmine Infantino is apparently the head of NASA.

Character quotable: “Man, I wonder if Flash Gordon ever had problems like these?” – Ed Tyler, newly minted as Phoenix

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on May 1, 2009.

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