Monday, April 13, 2009

The Stuff of Legend - A Review

Jim: We are doing a series of reviews of The Suff of Legend from Th3rd World Studios - This is there most ambitious launch to date and they are doing it in the midst of a tough economic times. I strongly implore you to pick up this issue on free comic book day and then sign up for this comic. These companies don't survive with your support and this book deserves your consideration. Hopefully we will have a review by each of us posted over the next week or so.

Onto Thomm's Review

From Th3rd World Studios comes a new telling of an old story. Entitled "The Stuff of Legend", and written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, with art by Charles Paul Wilson III, the story is set during WWII, after the Normandy invasion. At least I hope it is. A letter from the father of the boy who's the object of the rescue effort mentions Normandy, and with security being what it is in military matters, the invasion must have already occurred. But I digress.

Along with the rest of our merry band, I've read the first issue of this story on line in a preview. Hopefully that means some of the errors in the story will be fixed before publication becuase, like Boom!'s Mr Stuffins, I found the grammatical errors in the writing took me out of the story. Sometimes it's the wrong there/their/they're or the wrong its/it's, but at least once there was just a word missing from a sentence.

As to the substance of the review, with this one I'll start with the art because I really liked it. It was evocative of the era, clean and strong. I especially like the shift in depiction of our band of heroes from their real world manifestations to their Boogeyman World manifestations. There's no use of color in the story, unless you count sepia tones as a color, but that works very well.

The story is interesting. It has clear parallels to the Normandy invasion, as perceived by a child from a great distance, but we aren't complete with the story in the first issue, so I can't comment on the over all execution. It's off to a good start, for the most part. I do think it was too talky at the beginning and used a lot of conversation for exposition. It bogged down the story and made the characters speech seem artificial and stilted.

The short version of the plot is that the Boogeyman kidnaps a boy of about 8 from his bedroom and a group of his toys mount an expedition to rescue him. Like in Toy Story, the humans aren't supposed to know the toys are alive so they don't do anything to stop the kidnapping in the first place. That leaves me wondering, though, how the toys are supposed to rescue the boy. In the Boogeyman's world the toys appear in the size they would be if they were real in our world, so the teddy bear is an actual bear, the soldier is an actual soldier, etc. Still, two of the toys are a jack in the box and a metal ballerina with wings. They still appear artificial in the Boogeyman's world, so the boy will figure out they're not human. We'll have to wait to see how that's addressed.

The story takes off when the toys enter the Boogeyman's world. We're immediately on a beach head where a much larger force of soldiers for the Boogeyman are being defeated soundly by the force of 7 toys from the boy's room. All the soldiers appear to have been toys before they were brought to the Boogeyman's world, too. I don't know why the 7, and really, only 6 are actually fighting, are able to best this force that appears to number in the hundreds. They have no super powers or greater fighting skills than the soldiers, but they cut through them like a hot knife through butter. Still, it's a nice fight, logical inconsistency notwithstanding.

The Boogeyman doesn't appear until about 3/4 into the issue and shows up in a tree like some Cheshire cat. He's sort of a sinister looking Dream of the Endless, actually. The Boogeyman recruits the weakest memember of the expeditionary force to turn on the others. I didn't find that aspect of the story particularly convincing, but, again, it's partly due to this only being the first issue.

On the whole, the story didn't knock my socks off, but it was enjoyable. I'm curious as to where it's going and how the writers intend to resolve some of the seeming box canyons their writing themselves into.


  1. And a mea culpa from me, as I use the wrong "their" in the last sentence after criticizing the editing in this issue for the same thing. Should have been "they're".

  2. Thanks for the review Thomm, all of the grammar issues should be long gone (we hope anyway) from the version that you read. Thanks for taking the time out to check this book out!