Jonathan, son of Kevin:
The Small Lebowsky:
Gene Dogs #1-4
Issue(s): Gene Dogs #1, Gene Dogs #2, Gene Dogs #3, Gene Dogs #4
All of the US comics (including some not shown) get a real, if obviously very short and general, plot description. But more than half of the Marvel UK titles get a bad joke based entirely on the title that in no way describes anything to do with the series (and never mind the fact that Bloodseed #3 never got published). Like Marvel editorial couldn't even be bothered to know what the books were about. To be fair, though, i have read these four issues and i am going to struggle summarizing them anyway. A series about Gene Colan's dogs is sounding pretty good right about now.
These are part of Marvel UK's Genepool imprint (issue #1 polybagged with a trading card). A quick look at the covers and character designs has me saying, "If i wanted to read about second rate X-Force rip-offs, i'd be reading Image comics". But the story does hit me with some Marvel continuity right away and that's theoretically what i'm here for. The story opens with a reference to Digitek #1 and some bad guys, some of whom previously appeared in Knights of Pendragon #2.
And on the next page, a reference to Excalibur.
You have to love that line about "cream puffs in skin tight costumes". I mean, look at those two groups. They are exact analogues of each other, and practically wearing the same things. You have to have a lot of balls and a huge lack of self-awareness to mock their outfits.
Anyway, the guys on the left are the Q7 Strike Force. When we last saw three of them (the leader Sternwood, his bald girlfriend Tanuta, and the purple robot Harvester), they were working as agents of Mys-Tech. But now they are working for a company called Otomocorp. The characters on the right are our heroes, the Gene Dogs.
During their subsequent battle, the Gene Dog with the claws, named Panther, is killed by the Q7 guy called Bonzai. So she is replaced in that same battle by a new operative called Cat (but they're the Gene Dogs... oh nevermind).
And let me just say i fully realize that just about nobody is going to recognize and/or remember the three pre-existing members of the Q7 Strike Force so what we are really looking at here is a bunch of random characters fighting each other.
The Gene Dogs work for a government agency called STORM which seems to have some connection with SHIELD (or are at least able to access their satellites). STORM is led by Lars Dinkelbach, aka Eagle. In keeping with the (very loose) theme of the Genepool imprint, they were all genetically modified by STORM's scientist, Sam Merrick, and were given powers based on various animals. The animals are not all specified. The guy, Tyr, with the yellow pointy skin got the generic "dinosaur" modification.
Other members of the group are Howitzer (seen above in the panel to the left of Tyr), Kestral (the one with the wings), and Pacer (with the skull bandanna and the gun).
Panther was known to be a Mys-Tech spy by STORM brass, and it is thought that she was working with another Gene Dog. Cat has a secret mission to suss out the other traitor. If we ever learn who the other traitor is, it was after i stopped paying attention.
Q7 was sent by Otomocorp to get a Gene Scanner from what's left of the company that created Digitek. The attack by the Gene Dogs drives them off without the scanner, which is put in the Gene Dogs' care.
So note that there are three factions here. STORM/Gene Dogs. Otomocorp/Q7. And Mys-Tech. Mys-Tech get their own super-powered operative by bringing back a really old British super-villain from the original Captain Britain series: Hurricane. It's said that after Captain Britain dealt with Hurricane, he was experimented on by STORM's Dr. Merrick and given ant genes (!).
The Gene Dogs are tricked into a side mission trying to apprehend another group of ragtag genetic Mys-Tech fighting misfits - Codename: Genetix.
The fight, which has a random monster thrown in for good measure, is meant as a distraction, and it feels like one.
Do you really have to wash that costume? I mean can't you just throw it away and get some fresh ribbon at Party Fair?
The fight ends inconclusively with the groups separated. But in the meantime, Hurricane attacks STORM and gets the Genetic Scanner and Merrick.
But Algernon Crowe at Mys-Tech thinks that the scanner is dangerous, and it's his intention that Otomocorp gets the scanner so that they'll activate it and destroy themselves. So he betrays Hurricane, providing Q7 with his coordinates so they can capture him.
The Gene Dogs return to base and find out about Hurricane's attack. Merrick is actually needed to keep the Gene Dogs' powers stable, so they have extra incentive to get him back. They track Hurricane to an Otomocorp base in Siberia. When they get there, though - and this is the greatest thing ever - it turns out that Hurricane has taken over the base thanks to his ant DNA, which lets him control Q7 as a hivemind.
Cat is a telepath so she's able to help break Hurricane's control, and then the Gene Dogs and Q7 reluctantly team up to fight Hurricane.
And that's basically it. Some decent ideas in there that i think could have been put to better use if it wasn't for Marvel UK's scattershot publishing approach. But it's very 90s art, characters with bland stock personalities, and another series/concept that doesn't get off the ground. The Gene Dogs will return the favor by appearing in Genetix' next series, but that's the last we'll see of them.
Quality Rating: D
Historical Significance Rating: 1
Chronological Placement Considerations: I was originally going to try to keep all "old people" Mys-Tech appearances prior to Dark Angel #13-16 when they turned themselves into young super-characters. But it seems like most other Marvel UK books just ignored that completely and books published after the Dark Angel series just went back to showing them as old. So i guess their rejuvenation was temporary, or maybe they can transform back and forth, and i'm not going to worry about it.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAlgernon Crowe, Automaton, Base, Cat (Gene Dogs), Eagle, Harvester, Howitzer, Hurricane, Ridge, Sam Merrick, Shift, Stinger (Genetix), Tanuta Umbotha, Tyr (Gene Dogs), Vesper, Victor Sternwood
They're giving away Knighthoods for fun over here in the UK. You, sir, deserve one for having to review this muck.
Posted by: JSfan | March 2, 2017 8:19 AM
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