TITLE: Elementals – The Natural Order TPB
YEAR: November 1988
COMPANY: Comico Comics
By Bill Willingham
Back in 1983, Bill Willingham’s superhero team Elementals made its debut in Texas Comics “Justice Machine Annual”.
The following year, “Elementals” would receive a 29-issue run from 1984-1988, a 26-issue run from 1989-1993 and a 3-issue run from 1995-1996. And a plethora of one-shots and mini-series.
Because finding Comico Comics back issues were somewhat troublesome back in the late ’80s and there was no eBay or anyone using the Internet, finding the annual and the earlier issues of “Elementals” was difficult. Until Comico Comics released “Elementals: The Natural Order” TPB reprinting the Elementals storyline from the “Justice Machine Annual” and the series first five issues.
The comics revolved around a centuries-old sorcerer named Lord Saker who had stolen the supernatural powers of the world through his machine, the Shadowspear. Now the most powerful being on Earth, Lord Saker now has concerns.
He feels a disturbance with the emergence of four individuals with supernatural powers and sends a woman known as Shapeshifter to investigate.
What was discovered is that four individuals who each have died, have been brought back alive.
- Morningstar (Jeanette Crane) – Jeanette is a Los Angeles homicide detective who went after a serial arsonist and was burned to death. She has reawakened with pyrokinesis and an immunity to fire.
- Vortex (Jeff Murphy) – Jeff is a Coast Guard pilot who was asphyxiated in a helicopter crash. He has awakened with various air-related abilities including flight and wind-blasts.
- Fathom (Becky Golden) – Becky is a debutante who fell off a boat and drowned. She has reawakened with water abilities and can convert her body into water and shoot high-pressure streams. But unlike the others, she came back with green skin and webbed fingers.
- Monolith (Tommy Czuchra) – A young boy who was raised by his archaeologist father and while going with him for an archaelogical find, he was crushed to death by a landslide. He comes back as an enormous stone/earth golem.
After Shapeshifter tests the four of them and returns to Lord Saker to give details about the Elementals, Saker sends Shapeshifter and the other five members of the team, The Destroyers which include Annihilator, Chrysalis, Behemoth, Ratman and Electrocutioner to kill the Elementals.
Elementals was a very interesting storyline because it featured an imperfect group. Individuals trying to learn their own powers, trying to learn about the world around them and their responsibilities but also know that their lives that they once had before is now over.
There are government officials and police who refuse to believe there are people with supernatural abilities, you have heroes and even villains contemplating of what they are doing is right or wrong?
While I found “Elementals” to be a darker superhero book, while it had a multi-year run with each of its first two volumes, “Elementals” couldn’t find established footing due to Comico’s financial difficulties by trying to break out of the Direct Market. And by the second volume, with many independent comic book companies popping up and many of them succumbing to Comic Crash that began in the early ’90s, Comico Comics would end in 1997. We would only get one-shots and mini-series featuring the characters and the “Elementals” would become forgotten, except by those who grew up reading the comic book series.
Personally, I wish that some company would buy the rights to the Elementals because the core characters and the storyline would definitely work well with any universe, Marvel, DC, Valiant, anyone?
As for “Elementals – The Natural Order TPB”, it’s definitely worth reading and if you can find it online for a great price, definitely pick it up!