Review: The Brute #1

The Brute #1 cover
Cover uncredited (probably Dick Giordano)

The Brute #1
Published and © by Atlas (Seaboard), February 1972

Title: “Night of the Brute!”
Synopsis: A prehistoric subhuman frozen in ice emerges eons later to bring death and destruction to a Minnesota town.

Writer: Michael Fleisher
Penciler: Mike Sekowsky
Inker: Pablo Marcos

Review: This isn’t a good comic book. Michael Fleisher’s story lacks any spark of originality, and isn’t sure what it wants to be. It doesn’t feel like a horror comic, and there really aren’t any superhero – or even antihero – trappings, either. This origin story is pretty nonsensical, even by the era’s standards, and does little to establish the character. Worse, it’s just not interesting. The Brute seems to be a pretty unexceptional prehuman. Well, except for his size changing. But that’s not a power, it’s just poor art from Mike Sekowsky, whose uninspired work here lacks any of his trademark energy.

Grade: D+

Second opinion: “The Brute was actually one of Atlas’ better books.” – Mike Hall, Comic Effect #34, April-May 2003 … “Badly written and (with the exception of a lovely cover on issue one) badly drawn.” – Frank Plowright, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983

Cool factor: Unlike in Marvel’s Incredible Hulk, people actually get killed in The Brute. That’s kind of refreshing.
Not-so-cool factor: Pretty much this whole outing.

Character quotable: “Mark my words! You’ll be sorry you did this!” – Mr. Carlson, father of one of the Brute’s victims (perhaps offering a warning to readers of this comic?)

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on July 9, 2010.

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