Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cowboy Ninja Viking #1 – A Review

Cowboy Ninja Viking #1

Publisher Image

Writer AJ Lieberman

Art and Tones by Riley Rossmo

I had no real clue going in what to expect, but I have been a fan of Riley Rossmo with his work on his co-creation Proof. This book was a lot of craziness and a lot of fun. I find that I use the word fun to describe certain books, but I need to elaborate a little more on what makes a book fun. In this case the book is about an absurd idea of a multiple personality disorder person who is trained to be an assassin. We also have the super secret organization and the absurd lifestyle of the man who runs it, plus the director of that organization and the other triplet (multi-personality disorder) assassin. So many elements that are just off the wall and often skirt the edge of being over the top, but manage to walk that tightrope of keeping it fun without being stupid.

Duncan is our star and he houses the Cowboy, Ninja and Viking personalities inside him and his mental illness has been honed and trained to be a weapon. The background organization behind this is an apparently a filthy rich person who has women at his beck and call. This is a secret organization that changes directors every two years. Each director went on to bigger and better things (although in googling some of the names, I’m not sure what they held in common) and the current director gets caught up in the situation with CNV right before she is too leave.

The entire issue in many ways is set-up, In this issue we are introduced and learn about the cast of characters, the reason behind what was being tried with the triplets, the event that has caused the proverbial sh*t to hit the fan we get a taste of the action to come. All in all a great start to this book because you immediately want to read issue #2 after completing this one. The book for all the craziness and seemly random elements in the book reads very easily. I hate books that get so deep into their story the first issue, that it is a chore to read it. This book delivers tons of information in a well paced style.

The format is the Golden Age format and I loved it. The slightly bigger canvas allows for so much more to be done with the page design. The one panel pages are more dramatic and one page was broken into a five by five grid (as opposed to the three by three traditionally done). The page was less cramped then a traditional three by three grid. It allows a lot more story to be told in a single page. Also this is another big advantage that paper has over digital; you can have multiple size formats. A digital reader can never be bigger then its screen.

In addition to a fast paced and fun story we have Riley’s artwork which is getting better and better all the time. He has a sketchier rough style that borders towards the realistic in some small ways. I thought he did a very good job with the main cast making everyone very distinctive from each other. The action scenes were great and his story telling abilities are very strong. Riley is artist that when I first saw his work I thought it was almost too rough, but boy is he learning as he goes along.

Finally there is a cute gimmick that must be driving the letter crazy as every time one of Duncan’s personalities talk the word balloon denotes who it is for us. The Cowboy has a balloon with a gun shape, the Viking an axe and the Ninja a sword.

Overall Grade A – Triple your pleasure; triple your fun with triplemint gum. Okay that didn’t work but CNV needs to be on your reading list. Duncan (our CNV) maybe one of the best characters introduced in comics in 2009.

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