Foot Soldiers

 DC is leaning heavily on the heroes-in-a-dystopic-future theme this year, with Kingdom Come and their “Dead Earth” annuals. But there’s a series over at Dark Horse already exploring a similar idea: “When all the heroes are gone, who will fill their shoes?” Writer Jim Kreuger’s answer: The Foot Soldiers.

They’re a trio (and growing) of kids who were brought to the graveyard of heroes by a mysterious old man, where they find the gimmick tools of a by-gone age: antigravity boots with mirror soles (to give the about-to-be-stomped a look at their own faces), accordion-expanding platform shoes, and rags that restore sight and mobility to a blind cripple. Not exactly Mjolnir, a light sabre, and a power ring, but you take what you can find. Their mission, they’re told, is to free the people from the harsh rule of the Bio-Technic Law, enforced by faceless robo-cops.

Unlike most superhero teams, which are apparently designed solely to provide a certain variety of powers and costumes, the members of the Foot Soldiers seem to have been designed to reflect various aspects of humanity: impetuousness, conflicting feelings, meekness… as both weaknesses and strengths.

These “heroes” don’t seem like much; by most standards, they’re rather unqualified, actually. But that’s much of their appeal. Johnny Stomp, Second-Story Kid, and Rags Murphy bungle things left and right. But with their ordinary faults, they inspire, and seem to be making a difference.

Kreuger’s writing is thoughtful and introspective, getting inside the characters’ heads. We hear and feel their self-doubts, their fears… and their hopes. This is no strained, melodramatic X-angst, but something a bit deeper, and more engaging. Penciller Oeming seems to have been taking feet-drawing lessons from Humberto Ramos… but for a group called Foot Soldiers, it works. {grin} His art is a bit cartoony, but captures a good feel of this decaying world.

OK, so The Foot Soldiers don’t have big names behind them. (Colorist Laura Allred is the most familiar, thanks to her work on her husband’s Madman.) But it does have a big heart, and a lot of potential,
particularly as Kreuger adds to the cast.

UPDATE: However… Dark Horse regretfully cancelled The Foot Soldiers after #4, “due to poor sales”. Kreuger has promised that the series will continue elsewhere. At first he planned to publish it himself independently, but self-publishing is much harder than it used to be, and apparently that didn’t work out. Maximum Press (the personal publishing company of former Image guy Rob Liefeld) announced that they would be publishing it, starting with a new #1 (with a recap at the beginning), but it never appeared. The latest news is that it will be returning under the Image Comics banner, promised to ship in September 1997.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.