This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Fox.
Originally appearing in MLJ Comics Blue Ribbon Comics #4, the Fox continued to feature in the title until it’s cancellation eighteen issues later with #22, although the character only had one cover appearance; issue #16’s ensemble featured every character featured within the comic. MLJ Comics would eventually become Archie Comics, which brings us to 2014 and the release of the first issue of Freak Magnet.
Written by Mark Waid (Irredeemable/Incorruptible, Daredevil) and Dean Haspiel, who also provides the art, the modern miniseries evokes a sense of chaotic fun that harkens back to the Golden Age of comics, while remaining fresh and relevant for today’s audience. Officially published by Dark Circle Comics, which is an imprint of Archie Comics, The Fox had two miniseries by the same creative team; Freak Magnet and Fox Hunt. You can read them in any order, and I say that because I read the sequel, Fox Hunt, prior to Freak Magnet and never once felt as though I was missing out on anything.
A lot of that is down to the quality of the comics, because Fox Hunt was honestly one of the best story arcs I had the pleasure of reading back in 2015. Fox Hunt seeks to explores the difficulty facing a superhero who just wants to retire, with Paul Patten Jr. steadfastly trying to retire as The Fox. Unfortunately due to his innate freak magnet he’s having a bit of a hard time doing just that (although the million dollar bounty on his head isn’t helping things either).
Haspiel packs the issues with some fantastic art sequences to complement the story.
Although he is another legacy hero (think Robin, Flash, Union Jack, or any character who has taken over for the original hero – the current Fox is the original‘s son), with the way Mark Waid is writing the comic at the moment, the history of the character really doesn’t weigh on the story at all, allowing youto enjoy the two individual miniseries. With Fox Hunt, however, it would be a good idea to read the issues in order – or to wait for the collected edition that will inevitably be released following the conclusion of the first story arc – because this is a linear story.
If it sounds that The Fox is a fun series, well that’s because it is. When it comes to enjoying the comics we read, very few of the comics I have read have been as entertaining as this five issue miniseries. The art work isn’t quite family friendly (there’s the odd scene of mostly off panel violence that Dean Haspiel will highlight by having the odd bit of gristle or unidentified flesh appear on panel), but it’s a far cry from the gritty feel of many modern day comics. Waid and Haspiel‘s story telling is simply a joy to experience, and the light hearted tone never seems to go over the top into the realm of comedy, but certainly elicits a couple of chuckles from me each issue.
A spoiler free summary will not, and cannot, do the comics any justice, and I urge you to take the plunge and go check out either Freak Magnet or Fox Huntwhen you can. It will absolutely be worth every minute you spend in this world.
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.