MacGyver was a Monday night staple for my father and myself. It was one of those shows over which we connected, and which was required watching every week. My brother wasn't too happy with the situation - we used to have to tape Alf or something else that was on at the same time - but that was our show.
When I heard that MacGyver would be coming back in Fugitive Gauntlet, I was cautiously optimistic, but the fact that Lee David Zlotoff was going to be at the helm pretty much sold me on the idea. As it turns out, it was a pretty solid mini-series that not only remained true to the format, but which didn't tarnish any of those childhood memories.
Unfortunately, due to licensing issues, Zlotoff was restricted to using characters from the pilot episode only. That means we get MacGyver, Pete, and the Phoenix Foundation, but no Jack and Penny to play the sidekick, no ensemble appearance for the Coltons, and no Murdoc to make another villainous return. The lack of any Murdoc madness is probably my only real disappointment with the Fugitive Gauntlet, but here's hoping he can find his way onto the page should there be another series.
Visually, this was a solid comic. I thought MacGyver looked a little young, and I cannot forgive the absence of the trademark mullet, but otherwise the series looks great. The artwork is crisp, the colours are solid, and the panel layout is utilized nicely to incorporate the voice-over narrative we've all come to know and love.
In terms of story, it's a bit over-the-top, but no sillier than a typical MacGyver episode. The MacGuffin this time around is a genetically engineered seed that can solve world hunger by being able to grow in almost any conditions. The scientist responsible for it wants to give it away to the world, but sinister forces - everyone from the Russian mafia to Chinese spies - want it for profit. When the formula is stolen, and MacGyver is framed for the inventor's murder, his mission is further complicated by a multi-million dollar bounty on his head, and the series of bounty hunters looking to cash in.
The one thing the series does exceptionally well, and which made me smile every time, is embrace the impromptu MacGyver gadgets needed to escape various situations. True to form, each issue has at least one 'big' MacGyver moment, and all of the gadgets are pretty ingenious - whether or not they're work in real life or not. That, combined with the familiar voice-over narration, made me feel like I was watching a lost episode.
All-in-all, Fugitive Gauntlet provided a thoroughly enjoyable reunion with MacGyver, and one that rings true to my memories of the franchise. I'm not sure if there are plans to continue with another mini-series, but I'd definitely be up for a second adventure.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Image Comics