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A Reader of Fictions: Zen Brain - Nada Surf

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Zen Brain - Nada Surf

Brain Boy Archives

Author: Herb Castle
Illustrators: Gil Kane, Frank Springer
Pages: 182
ARC Acquired from: Dark Horse via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Brain Boy is the code name for a young man imbued with special brain power, thanks to the car accident that killed his father and sent electricity through his pregnant mother. Recruited by a secret government agency, which masquerades as an organization for anthropologists, Brain Boy faces down a number of serious threats to the safety of mankind during the comics' six issues.

The comic was published during 1962 and the artwork is reminiscent of that of the original Superman comics (Gil Kane). This should give comic book readers some idea of what to expect from Brain Boy Archives. Of course, some things one never expects, like aliens that vaguely resemble gooey green cats trying to take over the world via the water supply. If someone tells you to swim in the lake, don't do it.

Brain Boy's mind powers permit him to do some cool things, like communicate telepathically with other telepaths, read minds, get people to do his bidding and even fly. His flight rather resembles that of a Dalek, creepily enough. For the most part, I found the Brain Boy comics pretty silly and not necessarily in a good way. His adventures include the aforementioned alien attack, taking on an evil dictator and battling a telepathic t-rex. For reals.

The most interesting thing about Brain Boy was the historical time period in which it was written and how that impacted the plot line. Unlike a lot of contemporary comics, the Cold War is neither the main plot line, nor is it ignored entirely. Instead, Castle created another country, Xochtan, which is ruled by the aforementioned evil dictator. Xochtan aims to take over the world via nefarious means, such as tricking the US and the Soviets into turning the Cold War hot. Given that the Xochtanese (?) are clearly of South American descent, I wonder if this is intended to be a comment on Castro's Cuba.

If you enjoy reading old comics, you will be thrilled to check out this brief run for a strange hero, even if it is pretty evident why the series did not last longer. Of course, the $50 price tag may make this a bit less tempting, or just encourage library usage!

"Super brain
Never scared of nothing"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would be an intresting archive to read considering that I've never heard about it before.

February 2, 2012 at 11:45 AM  

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