At first look, The Fox is just another comic about a costumed hero who makes wisecracks while engaged in pages-long scuffles with equally outrageously dressed opponents. But there’s something special about how this five-issue miniseries—a modern reboot of a classic MLJ Comics hero from the 1940s—plays it all close to the ground.
The backstory is short and sweet: “Paul Patton Jr. was a photojournalist who couldn’t seem to find the story, so he became a crimefighter to make the story come to him.” Patton, whom we rarely see out of his sharp-eared dark blue skintight costume, is shown to be so old-fashioned that he still uses a film-based camera and believes in things he can see with his own eyes. Mark Waid scripts the series with an aw-shucks realism, while artist Dean Haspiel (who also provided the story outline Waid worked from) renders The Fox with a slump-shouldered, hangdog expression despite that sleek tight fox suit. It’s such an amiable, colorful, upbeat and fast-paced comic that when various evil entities begin emerging from the depths of the netherworld it still seems snappy and breezy and entertaining. The series is about to culminate in a big battle involving some of The Fox’s colleagues from the MLJ/Mighty Comics/Red Circle/Spectrum Comics universe, such as Inferno and the Shield. It’s getting busy, but The Fox’s simple and direct nature cuts through the muck. If you’re looking for a comic that’s not afraid to act old-school, keeping the action strong, the wit sharp and the outfits ridiculous, this is the one.