Candidate for Worst Comic Ever

In which Marvel’s god of thunder teams up with a bunch of randoms to fight aliens…

Comics made to promote products tend to lack finesse. Fortunately, the products are usually portrait_incrediblechildren’s toys. However, when Marvel’s Custom imprint decided that Harley-Davidson’s money is as good as anyone, they made this.

Apparently, there are other series of Road Force, but I have no intention of tracking them down. The best thing about the origin tale is that the writer, William Harms, doesn’t waste time. Each motor-bike hero is given a few panels to establish character (one’s a mom, another’s a doctor, another’s a racer et cetera), before being whisked into action.

They ride around on special motorbikes and shoot aliens. There are some amazing special noises that their weapons make. And they dispatch the baddies with lines that are almost witty one-liners. Only they are not witty.

Even Thor – not the most complicated Marvel hero – comes across as deep next to these lads (and token lassie). The mercifully short first issue introduces the team – which features one alien turned to the light side because he was so impressed by humans – and has them win without any real effort. Sadly, because this was published in 2013, it doesn’t have any of the hilarious racism or sexism of older terrible comics. But it is pointless.

By issue 2, Harms needed some help with the writing, so he is joined by Joe Caramagna. Caramagna is known as a letterer. So, he knows words and everything. The enemy of issue one, The Dire Wraiths (who used to be the enemies of ROM, Spaceknight (who was a toy)) has had its ass kicked, so the leader who is also a Dire Wraith but likes humans now decides to have a fight with Annihilus.

Annihilus must be pissed. He was a classic Fantastic Four villain. The Wraiths were fodder for a sales pitch. Annihilus was created by Jack Kirby. Is there no respect these days for tradition?

Anyway, off go Road Force. The female member- tastefully named Napalm – gets knocked off her bike, a couple of them get captured by Annihilus (who has already beaten Thor this issue). Luckily, the woman gets all strong because she has lost the only picture of her son, and smashes her way free of the pods that they have been imprisoned in and…

Usually, bad comics are fun. They have silliness. All Road Force offers is ridiculous dialogue, odd sound effects and plot points. Something something shape-shifting and shooting, Thor gets his hammer back and ‘krakkle boom!’ breaks free. They blow up an entire universe, and Captain America turns up on a Harley.

Oh yeah. There’s this subplot about Napalm and her family. She misses them.

Anyway, a year later, and Road Force are back. This time, it’s Iron Man who joins them. I think there must be one where Captain America rides about with them, but I can’t find it. I guess Napalm’s problems were sorted, because this series features an all-new team, including one called R.A.D.D.

040813-marvel-harley-davidson-road-force

My favourite this time is Polaristorm. He does look like the kind of person who would ride a Harley.

 

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