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The Coming of Crimson & Caress

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Back in 2004, when Joe Martino was still publishing comics under his own JGM Comics brand, he issued a 32-page, B&W flipbook entitled New Age Tales of Alternate Adventures, featuring a pair of tales of superheroes. The first one was David Davidson’s Gamble. Written by Jason Powell and illustrated by Nate Bellegarde, Gamble was a self-styled Paladin who deemed himself the protector of Las Vegas, but wasn’t above liberating the take he lifted from armed thugs for himself. On the other side of the book were Crimson and Caress a pair of Super-powered sisters who were on the run for the U.S.C.C. (United States Cyberine Corps — a group of supersoldiers who tied into Martino’s other book, Shadowflame). Well, while we don’t exactly discover why they are AWOL, we do learn that the other members of the U.S.C.C. include Roc, Shok, Barrel, and Terracide, along with their team leader, General Thomas.

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The girls are hidden out in a hotel and while Caress is in the shower, Crimson (who is 7′ tall and, well, quite red) slipped outside to acquire some 32 egg sandwiches for breakfast (hey, she was hungry) only to be discovered and followed back to the Hotel by the team, who burst through the wall in an attempt to wrangle them back to the base. Only the girls are determined not to go. The girls beat down each of the team members as well as the General, and manage to escape. During the fight we learn that apparently there was something going on between Caress and Shok, and The General apparently wanted something to be going on between him and Caress. Also we learn that one member of the team named Ramirez apparently killed himself, though we don’t discover why (save that the General has no sympathy for the diseased member).

Clearly there was more to these two gals, only we never quite learned what it was, as this was not only the sole issue of this title published, but it was the only time that the girls ever appeared in print. Well, being on the inside of the comicbook industry, we have learned that with the newly reformed JGM/Red Anvil (now Red Anvil Comics) publishing concern which occurred with the merger of Martino’s company and War of the Independents publisher, Dave Ryan, we will very likely be seeing more of these girls in a yet to be announced new Red Anvil title. From what we have learned, these pages will reappear (this time in color) in that new title’s second issue, along with more background and story as to what was going on in this issue.

All of this is part of Martino’s move to more closely align the various characters from his titles with those of Ryan and his titles. Personally, we can only see this as a good thing as we have been privy to have seen much of the stuff going on in the background as these two Indies join forces into a larger, stronger, better organized, publishing house.

As something of a teaser, we’d like to tell you a bit more about Caress (Angela Tancredi). She and her sister, Crimson (Theresa Tancredi) were orphaned and spent a couple of years living on the street doing what she had to do to feed, protect, and shelter her younger sister. As you can expect, she learned the hard way on the streets of Detroit how to protect and fend for herself. Needless to say, this experience has made her quite street savvy and she tends to not trust anyone. The two girls eventually wound up with the U.S.C.C., which has a genetics division that is designed to take in wayward children and help them to become better people. This division also put the girls through a rigorous process designed to enhance their natural abilities.

CyGen is a process that was developed to take a person’s inherent abilities and enhance them. Unfortunately, it also increases their weaknesses as well. Angela was code-named Caress and was put into training with the other recruits. She and her sister never quite felt comfortable with the group and broke out of CyGen. Currently they are on the run, which is where we joined them. She has the ability to phase through solid objects. When she is interacting with biological matter, she can speed up or slow down synapsis in the body. She can also reach into a body and squeeze someone’s heart or make that person feel as though they are on fire. Additionally she is able to affect the pleasure and pain sensors in a person’s brain, causing them to feel what she wants them to feel causing that person to feel better than ever or make them wish they had never been born.

Shoehorned in between the two Caress and Crimson chapters is a teaser/preview of Martino’s Shadowflame story that was occurring in his own title at the time this book was initially being published. Hopefully this small preview of these enticing characters has captured your attention and you will be keeping your eye out for the new Red Anvil book during the beginning months of 2014.

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Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.Top of Form

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