by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, N. Steven Harris (DC Comics, 1996)

Back in 1996, D.C. Comics began a series called Aztek. Aztek was Curt Falconer, a man raised by monks and trained by an outfit called the "Q Foundation" to be their champion against the shadow god Tezcatlipoca, who they believed would one day threaten Earth. He was also the latest in a line of "true believers," dating back centuries, to wear the Aztek costume, which was powered by a fourth-dimensional power source, making him a fairly powerful individual.

Aztek showed a lot of promise as a superhero book. The combination of an intriguing lead character with a solid supporting cast, set in a brand new city in DC lore (Vanity), gave the book the best foundation any new comic could have. The creators also had Aztek encountering other popular DC heroes (Green Lantern, Batman, the JLA) and sparring with some of its most threatening villains (Joker, Parasite, Amazo and string-pulling Lex Luthor). Of course, none of the above is surprising when you consider the creators of Aztek: Grant Morrison and Mark Millar.

The art on the book was also very good. Penciler N. Steven Harris showed a dark, moody style that fit the series perfectly. Ken also penciled all 10 issues of the book without a stand-in, which seems to be an unattainable ability to most new artists today.

And yet, despite having everything going for it, Aztek's sales figures deemed it unworthy of continued production, and it was given the ax by DC. Aztek went on to join the JLA but was hardly ever used in the book -- he recently died in JLA #41, the culmination of the "Mageddon" storyline. Once again, given the ax.

The series was collected as JLA Presents: Aztek, The Ultimate Man in 2008.

review by
Mark Allen

24 October 2009

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