Fighting American: The Ties That Bind by Gordon Rennie and Andie Tong (graphic novel review).

The story of Simon and Kirby’s Fighting American and Speedboy in the 21st century continues in this second volume, ‘Fighting American: The Ties That Bind’. At the end of the last book, Chaos Boy revealed that he had sent an assortment of Professor Dyle Twister’s deadly weapons to every nutcase and whack-job he could find on the Internet. There was no shortage of candidates. Now Fighting American and his teen accomplice are engaged in the seemingly endless task of rounding up these villains.

On page one, they’re fighting zombies created by the zombification ray of Captain Zombiemaster. When the battle’s done, FBI Agent Rutherford, in charge of Project Fighting American, raises issues about child endangerment with Speedboy and wants paperwork to prove that Fighting American is his legal guardian. What’s his real name? Fighting American can’t remember.

Speedboy goes off in a huff, leaves their Liberty Lair headquarters and ends up in the tender clutches of TV interviewer Poison Penny who wants him to reveal his heartbreak live on her network. When descendants of Fighting American turn up living in a trailer and the investigation finds that his revered brother had a sexual liaison outside wedlock, Poison Penny has even more material to bring down the good guys.

FBI Director and organised crime boss Double Header, our hero’s old enemy, replaces Agent Rutherford as Fighting American’s FBI liaison with corrupt agents Carter and Cruickshank. They make sure F.A. gets no help at all. Without Speedboy or any other support, he battles alone against giant robots, baseball bombs and guns that can turn bank vault doors to water.

Can old-fashioned, two-fisted American morality of the 1950s prevail in the cynical world of multimedia, fake news, infotainment, chat show slurs and hi-tech villainy? Perhaps. Writer Gordon Rennie does an excellent job of showing up the worst aspects of modern life through the eyes of a stranger in our strange land. Artist Andie Tong echoes the dynamism and vitality of Kirby’s original pencils but in a contemporary style. This book has less comedy than the first one, but maybe the satire is sharper for that. In the age of the celebrity millionaire victim television interview, it makes you think about what America has become; and England, too.

Eamonn Murphy

March 2021

(pub: Titan Comics, 2018. 112 page graphic novel. Price: £13.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78586-383-7)

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Eamonn Murphy

Eamonn Murphy reviews books for sfcrowsnest and writes short stories now and then. Website:

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