Thursday, December 06, 2007

Red 5 Reviews: December

December Titles for Red 5 Comics:

Neozoic #2
Story: Paul Ens
Art: J. Korim
Color: Jessie Lam

Gwen: I've been having so much fun with this book. I've loaned out the first issue to several people and I was so excited to read this issue.

Let me say right off that this kind of story is right up my alley. I'm a big fan of epic fantasy/sci-fi type stories, I love swords, and I'm fond of dinosaurs - especially big ones. Even so, as much as I'm a good audience for this type of tale, I think I would have enjoyed this book anyway. As much as the plot moves quickly it's easy to understand. There's already quite a bit of background information being laid out and you're left wanting not only to read more, but to know more about the world of Neozoic. Paul Ens has done a masterful job of laying out the story so far.

J. Korim's art is wonderful. His action sequences are both dynamic and elegant. His art truly allows the reader to be lost in this new and exotic environment. I want to kidnap him and make him draw all the stories I write! Jessie Lam's color work is also gorgeous. I find that it not only compliments J's art but also helps to set the tone of the environment. The creators working on this book seem to all enhance each others work - which is how a good comic should be.

I think my favorite thing about this book so far is the characters. There's quite a few characters who we feel we should recognize and yet even after only two issues I feel that I have a good idea of who Lilli and her team are. Lilli herself is a fascinating character. I was excited to learn more about both her and her family. I can honestly say that I can barely wait for next issue. If you're not reading this book you're missing out on a beautifully illustrated and written tale.

Jim: This book just got even better and I thought the first issue was fantastic. This issue we start out with one of the best action sequences I have seen done in a comic book in a long time. Lilli sees a person in the midst of a group of dinosaurs and takes off on her horse, and her team member and the reader are wondering what the heck she is planning on doing. As she jumps from dinosaur to dinosaur after sending her horse away the depiction of the action is just fantastic. Close up when needed, wide shots when needed and there is one picture with the feet of the dinosaurs that is just out and out unreal. This was an action sequence worthy of an old Steve Ditko sequence in Spider-Man. At the end she saves a little girl who appears to be from at a different tribe.

Then the book really takes a surprising turn and we move back into the city and find out that the humans are not as primitive as the first issue led me to believe. In all fairness they never did say that weren’t advanced, it just never happened in issue one. It all makes sense as inside the city is technology on par with perhaps the mid to late 20th century, and outside it’s back to nature as dinosaurs aren’t going to necessarily be taken out any better with a taser then a sword.

Inside the city we are given glimpses into the politics of this world; meet some of the characters’ families, and see small character bits to start filling in who these people are. It really is a rich and vibrant world that is being created, and it is a lot of fun to be in on the ground floor. What seemed to be a relatively straight forward premise is actually a richly developed and intriguing concept. Paul Ens had obviously done his homework and laid out a game plan before starting this book. It appears that he has probably laid out a good portion of the world and determined structure and written back stories for his characters. We are only two issues in and we have learned more about Neozoic and some of the main characters then most series give us in six. I hope this series lasts a long time because with this type of writing and the dynamic art of J. Korim I don’t want to miss an issue.

Atomic Robo #3
Story: Brian Clevinger
Art: Scott Wegener
Color: Ronda Pattison

Gwen: "Judging by how these things usually go, I think it's safer to assume mummies until proven otherwise." ~AR#3

Atomic Robo brings me great happiness. Amidst the piles of dreary Spiderman stories and monotonous 'everything that happens in the comic book will change the world as you know it' tales, Atomic Robo makes me laugh. It is so rare that comic books make me laugh anymore, and usually it's an occasional joke amongst a bleaker background. This comic keeps me smiling the entire time I read it. Sharp artwork, smooth colors and a fun story - what more can anyone ask for in a comic book? Honestly, I can think of no higher praise for this story and thus I have nothing left to say.

Jim: This book is such a revelation. The first issue gave us a little background, and then gave us Robo on a solo adventure; the second issue was an adventure with his team, but at its heart a story showing sadness, because Robo is outliving all of his friends; this issue is a crazy adventure. Robo and his crew take off to stop a runaway pyramid (yes a runaway pyramid) and the Egyptian government wants him to stop it without destroying it.

The pace of the story is such that you read it so fast that you can’t believe it is over. The dialogue is snappy and loaded with the light sarcasm that you would expect between this group. At the end Robo saves the day, but not without some collateral damage.

Brian Clevinger has crafted a fun and clever adventure. I’m not sure if he plans to link all of these stories together or if it was a six issue mini-series to just try out the character and see if it is successful or not, but I’m on this book for all six issues. Many bloggers like to take old comic and scan panels and rip them apart with sarcasm because many of those stories were written for an eight to twelve year old and seem silly based on the way we live today. What people miss (or are too young to understand) is they were usually fun. So many comics are no longer fun. They are exciting and interesting, but the pure joy is missing. Not here. Brian is writing FUN comics with Atomic Robo.

Scott Wenger as the artist is doing a great job showing us Brian’s story. Scott has captured the essence of the joy of Brain’s work and given us the same level of joy and fun with his pencils. What is so unreal is that Scott manages, by posing Robo, to get across his different emotions. This is difficult as Robo has no movement in his face plate. It is all about using body language to convey emotion. The cover for this issue was a beautiful piece of art. I’m not positive but Scott may have had the cover at Balti-con and now I wish I had bought it.

Abyss #2

Story: Kevin Rubio

Pencils: Lucas Marangon

Gwen: I'm still not sold on this book but this issue has improved enough to keep me interested. The plot is still a bit confusing but the more I read the more I begin to understand what's going on. Eric (the main character) has been put in an interesting situation by both having to deal with his father being a super villain and (this issue) having to try and convince the super heroes that he isn't insane. The humor worked a lot better this time around, and while I'm still not a big fan of the art it tells the story well enough.

Hopefully this comic will continue to improve. Sometimes comics work better once the whole tale is told - Abyss may be on track for a graphic novel.

Jim: Okay I was a little iffy on issue #1, but I’m sold now. This book has some great plot twists and the relationship between the father and son is a great one. The comedic touches are sprinkled liberally throughout the book and yet it also has a dramatic plot to it. A lot like real life, only I don’t wear rubber suits on have a kid sidekick.

What I enjoyed most about this issue was the dual storyline that was going down. One story was about Eric trying to stop his Dad from blowing up a building. After convincing the good guys he was trying to save them, there was no bomb. The other story is about his Dad and that he is setting up his son and everyone else and is basically doing his villain thing, but has yet to reveal his hand.

The art is solid and my favorite panel was the last one where we see Quiver’s hand being reached forward as she is about to go out on a date with (unbeknownst to her) a bad guy. I wish every comic could draw me in this well, tell this much story and then leave me looking for more.

Overall Red 5 Comics has another good month coming up. I'm excited to see how well these comics are being put together so far. Hopefully we'll have plenty of their stories to look forward to in the coming months!

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