Friday, June 08, 2012

First Impressions Extermination #1 - BOOM Studios

As I said I will on an inconsistent basis do a review of a first issue of a new comic, giving a page by page review/impression of a new series. I just like to try to find different ways of reviewing a comic. This book is from Boom Studios, a company that seems to be struggling to find an identity and is written by Simon Spurrier and art is by Jeff Edwards.

The Cover – Lots of yellow and dark brown, the main character looks super hero like and there is a bug like creature behind him. So the book is about a super hero bug killer. Did I guess right? Decent cover, not sure it would jump at on the stands, but the title grabs my interest.

Inside Front Cover – Credits and way too many covers as the credits include the artist for nine different covers. Do people really care about this anymore?

Page 1 – Four panels, the seemingly new wave is long rectangular boxes. We start with a quote. I guess setting up the post apocalypse setting. I find most quotes in comics annoying. Why can’t the writer find a way to say it? It looks like a cityscape that is now destroyed and covered in sand. A motorcycle is being chased by a blue streak and two guys (one in side car) are arguing as they are firing at it. Like a Batman and Robin team fighting what?

Page 2 – Almost full page splash with one rectangle panel underneath. Nox is introduced via the annoying gimmick where the character’s name and a few facts are just laid out next to him. It says “Nox The nocturnal knight of righteous redemption, the good guy.” He appears to be a Batman analogue. Also introduced is “The Red Reaper. Mincing Megalomaniacal science, tyrant, eeevil.” Note the clever spelling of evil. Bad guy is driving the motorcycle and Nox is shooting and apparently destroyed the blue thing.

Page 3 – 4 panels again. The two guys have a pithy interchange as they wonder did they get all the things after them.

Page 4 – 5 rectangle boxes piled up on each other, really mixing up the layouts and page design (sarcasm). An apparent flashback as Nox is torturing some bad guy (we hope) and a voice rings out asking for obedience to the Atomic God King.

Page 5 – One ¾ splash with two side by side smaller squares underneath. The bad guy Red Reaper was making the announcement from his humongous space ship type thing over the city. Nox takes off no longer worried about bad guy.

Page 6 – 5 Boxes. We are back to present day. I guess we now know bad and good guy are working together, I already got that before the two page flashback. Reaper checks out the tech from the bad guys as the two exchange remarks. We are establishing they have an uneasy alliance.

Page 7 – Five panels, but a more innovative design. The stuff Reaper is playing with blows up. A telepathic attack and we get the sense of the fact the bad guys are bug like, the cover of course was a dead giveaway.

Page 8 – 2 Panels.. A big ass bug attacks and Nox pulls Reaper away.

Page 9 – 5 panels. The rectangle box pile again. Nox is fighting the bug as Reaper is making pithy and annoying remarks.

Page 10 – Six panels, more typical comic page and a flashback. Nox and analogue Superman fighting bad guys, not together.

Page 11- Five panels, more typical comic page, Nox going after Reaper.

Page 12 & 13 – Back to present time. Nox and Reaper are fighting strange alien thing. Nox says he does not kill after Reaper asks him to finish off the alien thing.

Page 14 – Five panels – The Reaper kills it as Nox and Reaper argue over Nox’s morals against a one of the creatures that laid waste to civilization.

Page 15 – Flashback – ugh – this is getting old. They are building the idea they are arch enemies and of course now they are forced to work together. I GOT IT ALREADY. Nox is taking down the reaper and Nox says he is going to jail. BUT – the Reaper says “not unless you want to be responsible for mass murder”. Foreshadowing what? At this point the flashback is either pointless or somehow lead to the apocalypse that has happened.

Page 16 & 17 – Reaper points out to Nox his morals are outdated given what they are fighting. To make his point some monster is sucking the marrow or physic energy out of some kid and killing him.

Page 18 & 19 – Flashback – as Reaper starts killing criminals; he tells Nox he will stop if Nox kills himself. Nox is over the top upset by the killings. BUT – Nox figures out a way to stop the Reaper.

Page 20 – Flashback continues as Nox beats the Reaper.

Page 21 – Back to present day and Nox now kills the creature sucking the life out of the child and the Reaper takes satisfaction of Nox finally killing something.

Page 22 – Nox has a crazed look on his face and Reaper says he is glad he enjoyed it as a bunch of aliens attack. To be continued…

For a $1, this was okay. The good part is the premise is interesting. The world has been devastated and Nox and Reaper maybe the only ones left alive. The bad, the dialogue was too cute and tried too hard to be witty interchange. Also Nox’s unwillingness to kill was driven home as a central tenant of the character. It seems to me he could just as easily stopped the creature that was killing the child and not kill it. I would think we could have had the first half be the flashback and then we could have jumped forward and then the evolution of the characters over time would be slower and more organic. The art was not bad and the story telling was decent. If Edwards is a new talent, then I think he has potential. I think he was trying too many stunts and maybe aping some other artists and not trusting himself enough. If he has been around for awhile then I would say his work towards the lower rung of the super hero art ladder.

It is always tough with first issues, especially from a small publisher; you have one shot to grab their interest. I’ll be back for the second issue to see if it improves, but it needs to deliver or issue #3 may not get picked up. For a $1 I encourage people to at least give it a try.


  1. Edwards as you put it is new to the industry and for his very first book I think he did a wonderful job. Not everyone can be a Jim Lee their first book.

  2. Boom had an identity -- Andrew Cosby and Mark Waid. Now they're just a cancellation factory. They should worry less about finding an identity and worry more about finding a better captain to steer the sinking ship.