Comic Art Friday: Bring down The Wall!

Our first Comic Art Friday of 2010 spotlights the first Common Elements arrival of the Teens Decade. Artist Mike Leeke actually completed this masterpiece in the closing days of ’09, but since it just landed on my doorstep earlier this week, we’ll count it as a ’10.

What better way to launch a New Year than with an action-fraught Common Elements trifecta?

Tempest, Amanda Waller, and Brother Voodoo, pencils by comics artist Mike Leeke

On the left is Tempest, the short-lived superhero identity of Joshua Clay, a DC supporting character who’s better known by his civilian name. On the right, we have Dr. Jericho Drumm, a.k.a. Brother Voodoo, Marvel’s supreme master of the Haitian mystic arts. The pistol-packing mama in the middle is Amanda Waller, the hard-charging string-puller behind the Suicide Squad, and the White Queen within the shadowy international espionage organization known as Checkmate.

The artist wielding the pencil, Mike Leeke, enjoyed lengthy runs on Comico’s anime adaptation Robotech in the ’80s, and on numerous titles for Valiant (including X-O Manowar and H.A.R.D. Corps) during the ’90s. He’s best known, though, as one of the primary artists on the critically acclaimed Elementals, created and written by Bill Willingham, later the creator of DC/Vertigo’s popular fantasy series Fables.

As Tempest, Joshua Clay battled the forces of evil as a member of the second version of the Doom Patrol. During this period, Joshua played a key role in the concluding events of the universe-altering Crisis on Infinite Earths (he’s prominently featured on the cover of the final book of the 12-issue Crisis maxiseries). After hanging up his superhero togs, Joshua — a former U.S. Army corpsman who later graduated to full-fledged physician — becomes the Patrol’s resident sawbones and health adviser. Alas, poor Joshua was murdered by Niles Caulder, the Doom Patrol’s commander, and — understandably — hasn’t been seen much since.

A member of the ’70s-spawned wave of black superheroes, Brother Voodoo premiered in a brief miniseries in Marvel’s Strange Tales anthology — a book which at various times in its long history starred such disparate heroes as Dr. Strange, Adam Warlock, and Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD. By trade a psychologist, Dr. Jericho Drumm picks up the mantle of his deceased brother Daniel, a houngan (voodoo priest), ultimately developing into the most powerful houngan of all time. Recently, Jericho starred in another short-lived Marvel series, in which he took over for Dr. Strange as this dimension’s Sorcerer Supreme under his new nom de guerre, Doctor Voodoo.

Amanda Waller — nicknamed “The Wall” — possesses no superpowers, yet is as formidable a figure as any hero or villain (at various times, The Wall has been viewed as both) in comics. Throughout most of her career, Amanda has served as a covert operative for either the U.S. government (as when she was the director of the Suicide Squad) or some quasi-governmental agency (as when she was White Queen in Checkmate). A master tactician and political strategist, The Wall manipulates people and situations to exercise control, often for her own ends.

By now, you’ve probably figured out the Common Element that unites these three. And no, it’s not the fact that all three are doctors (Joshua Clay is an M.D., Jericho Drumm holds a Ph.D. in psychology, and Amanda Waller owns a doctorate in political science).

Doesn’t it stand to reason that if you bring together Joshua, Jericho, and The Wall, a battle will erupt?

Of course it does.

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

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