New Reviews of Old Comics
Ridiculous. That’s about the best word I can think of to summarize US 1. It might be the stupidest concept I’ve ever seen for a comic book title, that isn’t based on a toy concept. Granted I only have one issue to base my understanding of the premise on, but here goes. Ulysses Archer (U.S.) has a CB implanted in his skull that allows him to control his truck, US 1, (of course he names his truck; wouldn’t you?) via telepathy. I know, you’re kicking yourself wishing you had thought of it first. Whoever got the green light for this concept must have had photos of then Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter in compromising positions to use as blackmail.
Let’s start with the airbrush cover, complete with a she-male; manly face, manly body, chain coming off a belt loop into a front pocket and giant round boobs. Those jokers look fake, and that looks like a dude! Clearly someone you don’t want to meet in a truck stop restroom unless your name is George Michael. The story on the inside has U.S. (our hero, remember) fighting alongside his gang of misfits (old dude named Poppa and his woman named Wide Load, among others) against the evil Highwayman at a truck stop. Also, there is a dirigible floating just overhead. Highwayman has his own gang of misfit allies including Baron von Blimp, who is fat, as his name implies and enters the fray via the previously mentioned dirigible/blimp, as his name implies. BVB is like some boring double entendre. Somehow aliens work into this hot mess of nonsense, but only briefly, which is good because otherwise this would be totally absurd. U.S. is constantly thinking and talking about his deceased/missing brother, also a truck driver, and probably the best trucker driver there ever was in U.S.’s mind.
You know how superhero comics have at least one fight scene per issue? Well, U.S. 1 has a truck chase scene that kind of turns into a fight scene, with trucks, and culminates with Highmayman revealing himself to be…U.S. Archer’s long lost truck driving brother. Oh no! I think the subtle-as-a-sledgehammer-to-the-head foreshadowing for that shocking twist started on page two. “Good Man in the Clutch” was written and drawn by a bunch of guys who are now in the witness protection program.
All in all, U.S. 1 was lousy. A concept that was insipid even by comic book standards and that is no small feat. It’s like whoever created this had an unhealthy obsession with Smokey and the Bandit and other trucker related movies of the 1970s. In fairness though, I did finish it, which is something I couldn’t say about Metal Men. I think I’ve satiated my curiosity for US 1 and will return to my previous practice of head shaking and passing it by when I come across an issue.
Best Ad: This one is intriguing and border line crazy. The headline screams, “Make up to $275.00 or more extra per week as a ‘Mailing List Protection Agent’!” And what exactly is a Mailing List Protection Agent? Glad you asked. You send them $25 and sign up to receive junk mail for the rest of your life, and when you send this coded junk mail to the U.S. List Protection Company they’ll pay you 30 cents per mail piece. They in turn use your junk mail to verify that only authorized junk mail senders are using certain mailing lists. Sounds kind of like a 30 year old Spam blocker for snail-mail, except you take in the Spam to help prevent others from illegally sending more Spam. Interestingly, the ad itself has a 1982 copyright, two years earlier than the comic it was published in. My guess would be you shell out $25 and wistfully pray you get on the magic junk mail list to re-coupe your 25 bucks. Good luck.