METEOR MAN (comic-book adaptation)

A meteor gives Jefferson Reed superpowers and he uses them to stop gang violence in Washington, D.C.

As anyone who has read my post ROBERT TOWNSEND IS “THE METEOR MAN” knows, I love this film. Not everyone agrees with me, although it does have it’s other fans. I love is so much that I also bought this comic-book adaptation that was published by Marvel Comics.

Written by Dwight D Coye (based on Robert Townsend’s screenplay) and drawn by Robert Walker, this 64-page comic is a pretty standard adaptation of the movie. It follows the plot pretty closely, with the only change being that it cuts out most of the comedic bits, and just plays this like a traditional superhero comic (perhaps those critics of the film would enjoy this comic more?). Jefferson Reed is an Elementary School music teacher, living in an area of Washington D.C. that has become overrun with crime, thanks to a violent drug-dealing gang known as the Golden Lords, who terrorize the neighborhood. One night while running from the gang, Jefferson is hit by a green meteor from space which he soon discovers gives him a variety of super-powers. At the urging of his parents, and after his father is beaten so bad by the Golden Lords that he’s sent to the hospital, Jefferson dons a costume to become the public superhero Meteor Man.

As Meteor Man, we see him fighting crime and cleaning up the neighborhood, become a public sensation. But he continues to run afoul of the Golden Lords, whose leader, Simon, works for an international drug cartel. Jeff realizes that even with his powers he can’t be everywhere himself, and then his powers start slowly fading. This all leads to the big final confrontation between Jefferson and Simon, including where they both temporarily gain superpowers.

This is where the main change from the movie is (SPOILERS, I guess?).

I don’t know exactly when this comic was published, the cover date says July 1993, while the inside copyright says April 1993, either way, it’s before the film came out in August 1993. It was likely created around the same time the movie was being filmed, and therefore I am guessing that Coye was given an earlier draft of Townsend’s script to work. While in both the film and comic book Jefferson defeats Simon and then siphons the rest of Simon’s powers back to himself, only to then have his powers quickly fade away again, the comic book leaves out the part about the dying dog, and the final confrontation where Mr. Beyers, the drug cartel leader, brings a bunch of armed henchmen to kill Meteor Man, only to be saved by the now-reformed Bloods and Crips that Jefferson united earlier. The comic just ends that scene with Simon and the Golden Lords defeated, and Jeff powerless once again, but still optimistic because the community is now vowing to protect their own neighborhood. And then there’s a final page taking place the next day, where Jeff’s friend Mike runs up to him showing him a magazine article where a larger piece of the meteor that hit Jeff has been found and is on display in a lab in Arizona. Jeff immediately makes plans to go down to Arizona, with the implication being that it will give him his powers back so Meteor Man can live again. That would have been a nice little epilogue for the film, but I guess it was cut, which makes sense as there was no film sequel. It particularly works well in this comic, since it does lead into an original miniseries continuing Jeff’s adventures.

Robert Walker does a decent job with the art. His style is, I’d say, pretty average at best. Certainly not the dynamic Image-style that was so popular among comic fans of that time. He doesn’t really try to draw Jefferson/Meteor Man to look like Robert Townsend, nor does he attempt to match any of the other major characters with the film actors who play them. Again, with the more serious tone of the story, this also helps it feel like a traditional comic. If it weren’t for the actual picture of Townsend in costume on the cover, you’d have no reason to think that this was anything other than just a new original superhero comic book, not a film adaptation. So, mission accomplished. Chacebook rating: 4 STARS


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