Codename: Spitfire, previously known as Spitfire and the Troubleshooters, featured Jenny Swensen, an engineering professor who had a suit of powered armor not unlike Iron Man. Codename: Spitfire was a part of Marvel’s New Universe, which was divorced from Marvel’s regular, Earth-616, universe. The goal of the New Universe was to create stories with less of the fantastical elements of comic books and more grounded in reality, similar to what Christopher Nolan later did with his Batman films.
Codename: Spitfire only lasted 13 issues. This was the penultimate issue…
In the red M.A.X. suit, Jenny performs some tests that involve evading oncoming missiles. She fails, she’s hit, and she tumbles into the ground. She later reviews footage of the test in a control room until some guy in a vest tells her to get some rest and go home.
Jenny and Her Father
At home, Jenny looks at a photograph of her late father. Her thoughts get us newcomers caught up on the backstory; Jenny’s father was always afraid of M.A.X. technology falling into the wrong hands.
Her father was vehemently devoted to peace and was not very keen about working with the military (which is what Jenny does now). “He’d never understand that this is the only way I could continue his work on the M.A.X.” She accidentally drops the frame holding a photo of her father. It shatters…to reveal a disk!
Jenny returns to the military control room and puts the disk in the computer. Text immediately appears on the screen: “Hello, Jen. What can I do for you?” It turns out her father has somehow digitized his mind into this computer program.
Theft of the Quicksilver
Elsewhere, we see the test flight of a super awesome jet – the Quicksilver. It lands, and the test pilot is greeted by a group of people holding rifles. The leader of this group, Evan Reinger, kills the pilot and commandeers the Quicksilver…
Jen is called to the conference room, where she’s briefed on the captured Quicksilver. She is to attempt recovery of the Quicksilver, but should that fail, she has permission to destroy it.
M.A.X. vs. Quicksilver
She takes off in the M.A.X. suit and confronts Evan and the Quicksilver. As she starts winning the fight, her father’s program interfaces with the M.A.X. computer: “Jennifer, I cannot let you do this!” She figures out that it’s her father and orders her colleague Anne to take the disk out of the control room.
The Quicksilver fires a flurry of missiles at the M.A.X., echoing the test Jen went through at the beginning of the issue. This time she’s more successful in her evasion and gets the missiles to hit the Quicksilver instead. It’s destroyed.
Jen returns to the control room and confronts her digital father. “You were too committed to your utopian ideals to ever face certain ugly realities,” she types. “I’ve got to do what I have to do, not what I think you’d want me to do.” She hits the Delete key, and the program is erased.
I found this issue enjoyable. Most importantly, it was very easy to get into. I had no problems figuring out who was whom and who did what. It felt more like an issue 1 or 2 than an issue 12. Jenny is a fairly likeable protagonist and easy to root for, and at the very least, she’s interesting.
What makes the story work is her internal dilemma and argument with her digital father; it’s character-driven, not action-driven, and thus more memorable. Though, I do think it’s a bit cold of her to delete him in the end instead of putting the disk into storage, but I suppose that’s the kind of person she is.
The art was good. No complaints there.
The villain, Evan, was pretty bland. He was so bland that Jenny’s superiors didn’t know much about him. I’ll just assume that the organization he was a part of would have been further fleshed out, had the series not been abruptly cancelled.
It is such a shame that the series didn’t last very long as I’m eager to read more. After Spitfire’s demise, Jenny Swensen would have a slightly extended life after she’s ported over into D.P. 7, another New Universe series, but it’s just not the same.