Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Top 10 Peacemaker Covers

"A man who loves peace so much that he is willing to fight for it!" It's the sort of conflicting concept that seems to turn off readers. Leftists see a man packing a gun (a whole arsenal, actually) and recognize a hawk, while right-wingers could do without all that hippie talk getting in the way of explosions. Despite being a diplomat by day, Christopher Smith had the capacity to maintain a sunny grin while watching people burned alive in the usually more staid Silver Age that inspired the creation of the Comedian, so conservatives should have more readily embraced him. Instead, Peacemaker was ahead of his time at Charlton, then behind the times at DC, hopelessly goofy in his bucket helmet and jetpack. To make up for it, DC went the "mature" route of making the character a delusional homicidal maniac who heard the voice of his dead Nazi father (among others,) which even in the heyday of the anti-hero was laying the trauma on too thick to be entertaining. Smith ended up on the receiving end of a massacre perpetrated by Eclipso, then got replaced and retconned a few times, but to my knowledge has yet to find purchase in the New 52.

Honorable Mentions
Peacemaker #1 (1988)
Peacemaker #4 (1988)
Eclipso #13 (1993)

Dishonorable Discharges
Charlton Premiere #3 (1968)
Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #17 (1986)
Checkmate #23 (1989)

10) The Peacemaker #4 (September, 1967)
Goofy and plainly off-brand in its amateurish composition, but not without a modest goofy charm.

9) The L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons) #3 (November, 1999)
This was an attempt by two guys who started their careers at Charlton, Dick Giordano and Bob Layton, to give back to the Action Heroes. It was a firm flop, much too flat and retro for its own good. The best thing about Peacemaker is his unique look, so of course it was decided to bring out a new guy in brassy armor that resembled a henchman Iron Man would crumple up on his way toward a respectable opponent. If I remember correctly, this guy was a medic and more of a dove, which isn't what anyone honestly looks for from a guy in this racket. At least this spotlight cover was laid out well.

8) Vigilante #36 (December, 1986)
A blatant rip-off of the infamous Frank Miller cover where the Punisher plugs Daredevil, it's still cool and dramatic to see the anti-hero so thoroughly bust a cap in a straight-laced type less crazy-ass altruistic serial killer.

7) Showcase '93 #6 (June, 1993)
Mike Zeck excels at military hardass swagger, but is undone by the most boyish of fellow heroes and an unfortunate coloring choice.

6) The Peacemaker #2 (May, 1967)
It's a poor man's Blackhawk cover, and nobody wants a static headshot cover from Peacemaker, but it's alright amidst slim pickings.

5) Peacemaker #2 (February, 1988)
Half the covers in this mini-series were so miserably botched as to seem designed to repel audiences, Producers-style. This stock, serviceable image was fantastic by comparison, like pitting Jacob Zuma against Idi Amin in an election.

4) Eclipso #11 (September, 1993)
Audwynn Jermaine Newman isn't even anyone's favorite Bart Sears knock-off, but when you've had as few opportunities to strike a pose in full Chromium Age spectacle as Peacemaker, you cherish the ones you get.

3) The Peacemaker #5 (November, 1967)
Peacemaker is well suited for battling mutants in a dystopia, and it makes me wonder if that fauxhawk influenced OMAC.

2) The Peacemaker #3 (July, 1967)
For once, the bucket helmet doesn't seem out of place, and you have to appreciate the subtext of the subhuman "other" threatening the provocatively attired white woman while waving his phallic knife obliviously into the scope of a gunfight. Freud called to point out that sometimes a comic book cover is totally not just a comic book cover.

1) The Peacemaker #1 (March, 1967)
Doubled as a superb house ad, and would have also made a fine euphemistic cutaway from a queer orgy scene. And the rockets' red glare...

Cornucopia of Top Comic Covers
The Top 10 Peacemaker Comic Book Covers

1 comment:

Doc Savage said...

there's really no conflict in the premise for anyone even remotely educated or merely thoughtful...but most comics readers...?