A few months ago, Image Comics released the first issue of MacGyver: Fugitive Gauntlet, a five-issue series bringing back television's most heroic handyman, Angus MacGyver! The comic series is cowritten by Tony Lee and Lee David Zlotoff (the creator of MacGyver, the world's greatest television show, and also a guy who, apparently, doesn't really get the concept of satire), with art by Will Sliney. I spotted a battered first issue of Fugitive Gauntlet at a local comics shop yesterday, at which point I frantically threw $3.50 at the clerk and ran out of the store whooping and hollering and singing the MacGyver theme song.
Now, because YOU demanded them, here are my thoughts regarding Fugitive Gauntlet #1... IN REAL TIME.
BUT FIRST: I encourage you to listen to the MacGyver theme song on repeat while reading this post. Or reading anything, really.
Okay, all set? All set! Let us begin.
I'd meant to start on page one, but nope—shit gets started on the inside cover! How, exactly? Why, with that time-honored tradition of reading someone else's email! Except instead of your ex's email, it's MacGyver's!
The email in question is from "B.C.", MacGyver's former professor at Caltech—which is weird, since EVERYONE knows MacGyver graduated from Western Tech. Anyway, B.C. tells Mac that he's working on a project in Kenya that's "nothing less than a game changer on a global scale." (Sounds exciting, right? Prepare to be disappointed. It's about seeds.) B.C., who is whiny, says he needs Mac's help because he knows Mac "can be trusted completely and will receive my plea with all the seriousness that I intend" an—WAIT. WHAT?
MacGyver has email??? When we last saw MacGyver, it was in the ancient era of 1992—long before email was common! It's good to know that Mac's kept up with the technological times, especially considering MacGyver was born in 1951, and this tale is set in 2012, meaning he's now 61 years old! So old! Anyway, now we know that MacGyver's all old and shit, and we can make a pretty good guess that he therefore hates computers and teenagers! This should be fun!
Anyway, sounds like MacGyver's going to Kenya!
PAGE ONE: An ominously named sniper ("Travis") gets a phone call offering him a bunch of money to kill... MacGyver. It is unclear if Travis lives in Kenya, but judging by that "Eh?", he might be Canadian.
PAGE TWO: Kenya! Wow, MacGyver looks really good for being 61!
The fact that Image Comics wasn't able to get Richard Dean Anderson to let them use his likeness for this comic is... well, let's face it. It's depressing. If you don't have Richard Dean Anderson, you don't have MacGyver.
Maybe I'll pretend that this is a comic about MacGyver's son? Well... no. That won't work, because Mac's son was born in 1973. (Sidenote: MacGyver's kind of a deadbeat dad. Moving on.) Let's just consider the lost opportunity here: If Anderson didn't want them to use his late-'80s/early-'90s face for the comic, maybe he would've let them use his current face?
I still think an Old MacGyver comic would have been great (he could fix things in the retirement home!), but I guess we're stuck with a young MacGyver who doesn't look anything at all like MacGyver. Maybe MacGyver invented some sort of anti-aging serum? Even the mullet seems toned down. Does Richard Dean Anderson have mullet likeness rights?
Look, I'm having a hard time believing a few things about this comic (WESTERN TECH) and we're only on page two. Maybe page three will be better.
PAGE THREE: Ugh. Nobody told me there would be French people in this comic.
Maybe he hates taxes because the goddamn feds are all up his ass to pay taxes on his anti-aging serum! Goddamn feds.
PAGE FOUR: Boring B.C. offers to give Mac a VIP tour of his place of work, the Cornwell Institute! An old man giving somebody a tour of their workplace? How exciting!
PAGE FIVE: The nefarious Travis pulls up outside of the Cornwell Institute... and kills the black driver who brought him there! SPOILER: On the next page, Travis will also kill the black driver who drove MacGyver to the Cornwell Instittue. Is Travis a racist? Possibly. His name is Travis.
PAGE SIX: Travis' motives are revealed at last in my favorite 10 words that have ever been written in a comic book. I wish there were little music symbols next to Travis' word bubble so it sounded like he was singing it.
PAGE SEVEN: Boring ol' B.C. is in the middle of talking about some boring stuff about some boring high-tech seeds he's developed when CLANG! Travis (clumsily) attacks! And promptly apologizes for doing so! That's nice of him.
PAGE EIGHT: MacGyver doesn't fuck around. Also, PLOT TWIST: Travis has a bald spot? Embarrassing.
PAGE NINE: Somehow B.C. gets shot anyway (sorry, old man! be less boring next time!) and his Sexy Assistant sexily kneels over him as he bleeds out, making sure to show off her sexy assistant boobs in the process. Comics!
PAGE TEN: Plot twist again! Turns out Sexy Assistant is actually Kari Kurikov—B.C.'s (inept) bodyguard and an Interpol agent! But she thinks MacGyver is the one who killed B.C.! What! Meanwhile, that French dude from page three shows up again and steals boring B.C.'s boring data about his boring seeds.
PAGE ELEVEN: Nothing interesting happens on this page. Sexy Assistant/Sexy Interpol Agent throws both Travis and Mac into some teeny tiny jail cells that she happened to have nearby? I guess they have little jail cells at places where people research seeds.
PAGE TWELVE: That French bastard who stole B.C.'s boring data about his boring seeds? He runs outside. MacGyver better do something cool soon.
PAGE THIRTEEN: Hell yeah! Mac uses his Swiss Army knife to bust out of his handcuffs! Nice one, Mac! Also... wait. Sorry, I got confused. Turns out Travis' name is now... "Crazy Ace"? Okay, Travis. Call yourself whatever you want.
PAGE FOURTEEN: Meanwhile... this is happening outside! Kurikov is shooting at... sombody? Or they are shooting at her? The French guy is probably involved. I'm going to be honest: I have no idea what's going on here. But I do like any panel that has someone screaming, "Call for backup—ARRGHHH!!"
PAGE FIFTEEN: Back in the jail cells, MacGyver FINALLY gets MacGyverin'! IT'S ABOUT GODDAMN TIME*.
*Full disclosure: Back on page eight, MacGyver also made an impromptu flame thrower using "a bunsen burner with some screen cleaner." It was totally underwhelming, which is why I didn't mention it before.
PAGE SIXTEEN: Back outside, whats-her-name is still fighting some... guys? She's definitely fighting some people for some reason! She kicks one of them because... I am not sure, sorry. But you can tell she means it because she's all "Stay down. I said—STAY!" Also, she just now realizes that French bastard is behind all of this, which the rest of us realized as soon as he showed up on page three.
PAGE SEVENTEEN: Mac escapes! Here's something weird: When Richard Dean Anderson says stuff all sarcastically, it's charming. When MacGyver-That-Isn't-Richard-Dean-Anderson says stuff all sarcastically, he just sounds like a dick.
PAGE EIGHTEEN: Interpol lady is in trouble! MacGyver gets MacGyverin' again and saves her by making a bomb out of a mug, some jellybeans, and—goddammit. ANOTHER STUPD BUNSEN BURNER. Come on, Mac! You used one of those like 10 pages ago and it sucked even back then! Points for using jelly beans, though. Also, that same amount of points now gets taken away for using a dumb bunsen burner again.
PAGE NINETEEN: I present this panel without any context because I am super immature.
PAGE TWENTY: Thankfully, MacGyver/Lee/Zlotoff explain everything in one simple sentence. Not explained: Why this comic is inexplicably set in Kenya. Is Kenya the only place in the world that has boring old men and seeds in it? Ugh. Kenya blows.
PAGE TWENTY-ONE: Mac and his new girlfriend steal a helicopter!
PAGE TWENTY-TWO: They fly away. Kind of a boring page, honestly. BUT! LOOK AT THIS AD IN THE BACK! The search for data about seeds has never been more thrilling. VROOM! SCREECH! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Call for backup—ARRGHHH!!
Quick! Someone buy me issue two!
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