Staff: Andrew Lorenz and Mike Campeau
Generic superhero in genetic tights
There is something weird going on with the art. Most times it is downright solid, but sometimes it shifts style (in the same panel) and looks like it was drawn by two different people. A good example of this is on page 4 where it looks like the thug’s head is drawn in a different style than his chest. It should also be noted that some of this looks like the reused all or some of certain art pieces. Again on page 4, look at the position of the thug’s head and arm, then compare it to the panel on the top of the page. There is also this weird reliance of really amateur level gradients on things (particularly noticeable on what I assume is paper or trash blowing in the wind?) over what is otherwise really solid line work. We also have a very visually clean city for an environment that is apparently slipping into the hands of crime and heading towards total collapse. I see this a lot with people who don’t pay as much attention to the background and the kind of world they are portraying. There is a very bright background with a lot of primary colors, something that kind of clashes with the urban aesthetic they talk about in the next. This could also be a lack of detail on the artists part.
The lettering is not up to par either. I hate to be rough on this stuff, but we have some seriously decent lettering with some big bobos when it comes to the placement of text (See page 9) in the dialogue balloons. The lettering on the intro is not the same quality as in the comic and really is distractingly bad (maybe a center align or something?). However, otherwise it is very solid.
The dialogue is lifted from every golden age comic ever that serve more to explain the scene then to explore the characters. For example we had line where a criminal say, “He’s got Shane!”. This does very little to educate us, the reader, to the nature of either the hero who has apprehended Shane. It doesn’t even explore Shane’s character and only gives us a vague insight into the other two mooks who say “Forget him, lets go!”. In a lot of my reviews I bring up that comics are a visual medium (at least in part) and you don’t always have to have dialogue for a scene to work. In this case, I think a lot of these scenes would have worked a great deal better if they dialogue had been left off. For example, imagine if the hero has ripped the top of a car and we got the panicked faces of the thugs and as they flee we see him grab one. The emotion on the faces of the characters (which is well done) could have had time to shine and carry the scene, but instead we get trite dialogue.
Overall this seems like a failure of concept. This is a decent art team but it feels like someone had a “really cool idea for a hero” (who is, in truth, rather generic) and paid an artist to illustrate it. It lacks that je ne sais quoi that a well thought out comic concept that has real potential has. The setting is one step from Gotham and Paragon is somewhere between Superman and Captain America. I HATE to simplify it like that, but that’s the vibe I get. Like someone, a very passionate fan, wrote this comic as a love letter to his favorite tropes. And I’ll give him credit- he mimicked them well. However, mimicking and effectively implementing them are two very different things. It just doesn’t feel unique or novel at all. It’s just a different rehashing of the basics wearing it’s factory printed tights.
The postscript is a very good read actually. It tells you the name of the characters and some of the background on the comic’s development. It seems like a lot of passion went into this comic and it looks like there is a longer term goal in mind because we are told there is 130 issues so don’t write this comic off on my review of it. This is potentially a very strong series and I am just reviewing the “trailer” here. Then again, I wish we’d got some of that in the first issue. If it didn’t grab me it might be lacking in something.
Something else I liked in the postscript is that our dear author talks about not talking but doing something. This is a HUGE issue that I see in the indie industry. Everyone thinks is really easy to make a comic and their idea is the best one out there. These guys, including this team, bite and claw their way up. It is a massive undertaking that takes talented people months (if not years) of hard work. Sure they are “indie” but hot-damn if that doesn’t make it all the more impressive.