Road to Redemption
The Leaf is Canada’s greatest hero. The title has been passed down through several generations, and now the mantle has fallen on Michael McSorly to become the new Leaf and continue to protect all of Canada. The Leaf is the sort of Silver Age legacy comic that, as I’ve admitted on several occasions, is not my cup of tea, but for fans of over-the-top action, silly costumes, and bad one-liners, this comic has something to offer.
With his uncle Angus approaching the end of his life, there is still one thing he has to do: find out what happened to Jill Canada, the original Leaf’s sidekick, who was captured in Germany during World War II. This mystery takes Angus and Michael across the globe to uncover the past of the original Leaf and the Nazi war machine. Angus is the stereotypical Scotsman character, but, as always, what a fun concept to play with. Angus and Michael have a strong bond that is clearly felt, and it’s this family connection that keeps the book moving right along.
The art suffers from the problem of too many cooks in the kitchen. Four artists (not including colors, flats, or the cover) are responsible for the bulk of the book, and the art varies quite a bit, which made the book feel disjointed. The cover is great and immediately grabs you with a great blend of Nazi tech, though it does give away some plot points in the story, if you think about it too much.
I’m torn on the issue of costume design. On the one hand, I laughed out loud when I first saw the Leaf’s outfit, but it was a particularly unflattering pose with the parts of his cape making a quite literal leaf for no reason. Later on, we see the Leaf in motion where the different sections of his cape take on a life of their own and become something notable while the rest of the Leaf’s outfit felt more standard superhero. While many of the other costumes were standard superhero fair, I dug the design work on Panzerman, one of Nazi Germany’s former “heroes.” Panzerman hits that right blend of over-the-top fun and intimidating and practical design for me. The back of the book includes a bit more history on Panzerman, which I was quite pleased to have. Sadly, Panzerman and the big fights of the issue last less than a page each, which is something I think The Leaf needs more of in order to connect with its Silver Age tone. A bit more action would keep spirits up and give more opportunities for the cheesy one-liners and situations the tone is known for.
The Mountie Brigade – The Searcher Part 1
The Leaf #5 also includes a few pages from The Mountie Brigade, which is set in the far future when a ship crash lands near the Martian colony. The story moves incredible quickly, cutting out the unnecessary sections and hitting a couple of major plot points in such a short time. I enjoyed the art in this story, which had a good handle on character features and expressions, some fun, Flash Gordon-type design work for the future’s equipment and clothes, and some creative use of a spray can style of art for displaying fire and smoke effects. My only wish is that The Mountie Brigade had a few more pages to play with or its own title. Admittedly, I also really like yelling, “SPACE MOUNTIES!” which is what this book makes me thing about.
Three Snarky Scotsmen and a Space Mountie Out of Five