DC’s corporate satire continues with the Red Tornado, a guy who is trying to be an actual hero, learning that maybe the corporate setting isn’t for him. Or heroes in general.
That last part is probably the point.
Issue: One-Star Squadron #4, March 2022
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Steve Lieber
The Plot: Red Tornado really doesn’t want to fire anyone.
Commentary: So, the previous issue had Power Girl lead a revolt in the office, getting the other heroes to sign off on a letter saying they hated the Red Tornado and wanted him fired. Turns out the board took that the exact opposite way. Since he’s hated, he can fire half the staff, and it won’t be a problem because they already hate him. He was told to start with Power Girl.
The thing is, Red Tornado is basically being written as a decent human being, someone who is actually trying to help his employees do well in every way possible while earning a living to take care of his own family. So, who does he fire? Well, he doesn’t want to fire anyone, and his whole goal is to put things off as long as possible while he thinks of a way out of this.
If Plastic Man can keep from going on about the Alec Baldwin’s scene from Glengarry Glen Ross, it might even go better.
Given this is a humorous story, it isn’t that much of a shock what happened when Red Tornado finally decides to stand up for himself and, well, he may not need to. He had to fire people to make the company look better for someone trying to buy it. If that happens, then what?
Beyond that, the series is largely interested in how the corporate system dehumanizes its employees. Red Tornado, pressured to do things for the bottom line that he knows are wrong, is the obvious example, but Power Girl learned the hard way that her scheme didn’t work, and she’s forced to think how she got to that level. It’s sharp stuff in a very funny series. I look forward to reading more. Particularly, the two remaining issues in this six issue mini-series. These are heroes. How are they supposed to be heroic if they’re doing this to earn a living in a dehumanizing corporate system? Particularly in the gig economy?