Staff: Liam Kavanagh, Stuart Perrins, Paul Moore, Stuart Patrick
So British you can use the hardcopy as a tea bag.
So today I’m looking at Imperials from Red Leaf comics. This comes at me from across the pond (aren’t digital comics wonderful?). from the UK division of Red Leaf. So lets dive into Imperials #1!
…and it’s a super British comic. Not sure what I expected, but yeah, this comic is so British I swear I saw the Union Jack stitched into the protagonist’s underwear. This comic is split into two short stories so I’ll be doing two reviews of each section because they differ pretty heavily.
Lettering is really hit or miss. The introduction page is very difficult to read due to a choice to put a black text over a black and white sketch of a man in power armor. After that little misstep, the comic’s lettering gets a facelift and is near professional grade. Then it switches back to terrible when the comics does some robotic dialogue. The glaring red they use at time really clashes with the rest of an otherwise good lettering job.
The second story has typical lettering and ultimately is pretty solid. Not reinventing the wheel, but good.
Something weird about the art is that every character in the background in the first story seems to be expressing some extreme emotion. I guess that is kind of a counter to the way most comics put laughly little detail into background characters. Then again the expressions on all of these characters seem to be exaggerated. It’s not good or bad, simply a stylistic choice. The costume designs don’t really do anything for me
Otherwise the art in the first story is not typically the style you see in an everyday superhero comic. There is a lot of crosshatching being done and use of pure black backgrounds. The art style seems a bit like a political cartoon you might see in the New Yorker or something. There are some very awkward posing at times but for the most part it’s pretty well done.
The second comic has much better art in my opinion. It takes a much more minimalist approach to the way it’s drawn and even though there is a little less detail, it’s a lot of fun to look at. It seems to have a hint of asian influence to the artstyle, which makes it a very compelling mix of styles.
The plot of the first story is pretty straightforward fair. Supervillain robots attack Parliament, a hero attempts to stop them and gets back up from another one. I wish I could elaborate, but this is really just a lot of exposition. It’s a decent read so don’t skip it, but I’d suggest that you read it only with the intention of reading two or three of them back to back to get some momentum going.
The second story is a much smaller scale story that seemed to go by a bit faster. Though it wasn’t as dense or plot heavy, I enjoyed it a bit more. It was smaller in scope but deeper on characterization. Not every panel serves to progress some big story, it relies on facial expressions and action rather than dialogue. Hats off to you on that.
Overall it’s an odd mix. The first story really lost me in it’s heavy plot, iffy costume choices, and paint-by-numbers feel. It was definitely painted in the colors of the UK flag but it was still pretty generic superhero fare. The second story is the saving grace. It’s a street level story about a cop, robot, and a superhero. A lot of fun to read.
So give it a read. It’s only 99 cents (USD) and it’s 23 pages. It’s a nice little collaboration between some UK (and Canadian) writers and artist.
God save the Queen and all that 😉