Parker placed just enough uncertainty and precariousness into this issue where I wasn’t quite sure what the final outcome was going to be, not that I needed any extra compulsion to read this issue. “Gorilla-Man” has been every bit as refreshing as “Atlas,” but with a whole lot more Gorilla-Man.
Jeff Parker once again shows why he is one of the best writers in the industry today as he opens this issue with a conversation between Ken Hale and the silverback of a gorilla troop. From there, Parker finishes his revelation of the origin of Gorilla-Man and does so with flair, balancing yesteryear with the present day dust-up between Gorilla-Man and the Blood Guard. Although Parker has been writing the adventures of Ken Hale for more than a few years now, he still manages to jam a few surprises about the character into this issue. Beyond those secrets, Parker weaves a few threads from the past together to enrich the ties between Atlas and Gorilla-Man.
Caracuzzo’s art is, once again, spot on. His art is less pencil and ink over top than it is pure brushwork. The book, therefore, has a more energetic feel, as though the drawings on the page are only there while the page is being read. Caracuzzo’s technique isn’t the only highlight of the artist’s ability, as he manages to visibly tie Ken Hale, adventurer, to Gorilla-Man through shared expressions and eye shape.
The story of Ken Hale the adventurer is almost as enjoyable as Gorilla-Man the agent of Atlas. This series has been everything that comic books should be: fun, high-flying adventure with perilous situations, and thrilling victories. Hopefully with the demise of “Atlas,” Marvel and Parker will be able to still deliver tales of the team through the miniseries format. Quick little doses of Atlas-flavored awesomeness would be nice to have.
Speaking of nice to have, Marvel justifies the extra dollar on this issue with yet another Gorilla-Man reprint from the past. This issue’s yarn comes from “Tales to Astonish” #30, featuring art from Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers in a story written by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber. It’s a nice addition to the overall package and it does a nice job of serving up a slice of history for the whippersnappers buying this book that may be unfamiliar with the work of Lee and Kirby.