TITLE: Superpatriot Issue #5
YEAR: September 1993
COMPANY: Image Comics
Creator/Scripter: Erik Larsen
Plotter/Storyteller: Keith Giffen
Penciler/Inker: Dave Johnson
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Color Separation: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Jannie Wong
If you have read “Savage Dragon”, one will recognize the name SuperPatriot.
An American superhero named Johnny Armstrong who fought in World War II, he was captured by the Nazis and was used as a guinea pig and experimented on and was able to get superhuman abilities.
He managed to destroy the Nazi base, so they wouldn’t be able to replicate the process and being an American soldier, donned the costume of SuperPatriot and fought alongside Supreme and Mightyman which they were dubbed the Allies.
But it was one thing to fight crime back in the day and in the ’90s, while trying to taking on the Vicious Circle, he was attacked and mangled thanks to Mako biting off his arms, legs and face and leaving him to die.
Back in 1993, Erik Larsen and Keith Giffen worked on the SuperPatriot mini-series and showcase SuperPatriot’s past and present and because he is an older superhero, he’s looked at as an old man.
But in truth, when his mangled body was taken in by Cyberdata, scientists transformed him into a crime fighting cyborg.
Issue #2 features the SuperPatriot cyborg and being tested as he fights. But for some reason, his memories of Savage Dragon freezes him for some reason.
We then see SuperPatriots past of an older Johnny Armstrong as SuperPatriot coming across Vicious Circle members Hellrazor and Basher, who look at SuperPatriot as a fossil. While SuperPatriot was able to show his might in the beginning of the fight, the Vicious Circle bests him and Mako…it doesn’t show it, but we know Mako eats his part of his face, his arms and legs.
We then see another past (during the Vietnam War) when we see SuperPatriot having a discussion with Mighty Man about breaking their ties with the government. As he doesn’t like how the government is handling the Vietnam War and how he doesn’t trust the administration but his fellow Liberty League members telling him that it’s not their jobs to change things.
We then see a past when SuperPatriot is fighting against the Nazi’s but immediately, he starts thinking of Savage Dragon and once again, SuperPatriot exhibits some trauma for some reason. But CyberData continues to build a better SuperPatriot android.
Overall, it’s a solid issue that gives us a taste of SuperPatriot’s past. Back then, he was a mysterious character when he appeared in the Savage Dragon mini-series and it was great to see how Johnny Armstrong had lived a long life but how he became an android and who was responsible for making him what he is today.
The series also helps to establish the Vicious Circle as a group of supervillains that are about murder and destruction and gave readers a side of supervillains which many comic book companies never wanted to show (DC Comics did show us how demented the Joker was, with what happened to Jason Todd and also Barbara Gordon) but Image Comics really gave us an idea of how crap hits the fan and part of the reason why people enjoyed Image Comics and its ability to stray away from the Comics Code Authority and feature stories that show that all fights with villains do not end with the banal, superhero wins, you go to jail until you break out and we use your character again and repeat process.
No, these villains featured in Erik Larsen’s comic books were really sadistic, cold, calculating and a murderous bunch and the superheroes along with police had a hard time fighting back.
And the SuperPatriot would make numerous appearances throughout the years in Savage Dragon in the last 25-years.