Friday, June 28, 2013

Reviewing First and Second Issues

I've been traveling so much lately that I went to my LCS to relax.  I ended sitting around and chit chatting for a couple of hours and read a bunch of stuff off the stands. 

Today, a special treat, Lee reviews: Uncanny #1, Bounce #2, Wake #2, and Jupiters Legacy #2

Spoilers abound because I talk plot points. You’ve been warned.

Uncanny #1, written by Andy Diggle, art by Aaron Campbell, published by Dynamite
Briefly: Our hero can absorb memories and knowledge from people by touching them (think Rogue) and uses his skills selfishly until the mob comes to get him.

The Good: It’s a solid setup issue. We’re introduced to the main character, his abilities, and there’s plenty of action as he’s chased around Singapore by the mob.
The Mediocre: The art is fine. Campbell is a better artist than what’s on some of the pages. There are a couple of breaks where either anatomy, or layouts, really break the flow. It’s not offensive but it could be better.
The Bad: The ending. Now if you’ve read the issue I’m sure you going “what’s wrong with the ending?” Technically there’s nothing wrong with the ending but that is the problem. At the end, our hero is saved from the mob and is whisked away by the cute girl on the motorcycle. Nothing wrong with that EXCEPT it’s a bad ending for a first issue. Why? Because, it’s a perfect jumping off point! The story was fine enough but it wasn’t excellent. If it’s not excellent then I need a hook, or a cliffhanger, or something more than watching our hero ride off into the literal sunset to bring me back to for the next issue. If I walk away now there’s no guilt. There’s no sense of ‘I’m gonna miss something’ it’s just an end point. For that reason, I call the ending a fail.

Final Verdict: It’s fine.

Bounce #2
, written by Joe Casey, art by David Messina, published by Image Briefly: I got nothing because I don’t have a clue what the heck I just read. I think some kid has superpowers but his friend doesn’t and they might jump around timelines… maybe.

The Good: Casey treats the reader like the adults we are and doesn’t clutter the page with text boxes saying ‘today’, ‘yesterday’, or ‘5 yrs ago.’ It was nice that an author is finally giving us credit for being able to follow a sequential story.
The Mediocre: Messina’s art didn’t offend me.
The Bad: The least bad, far as I can tell, it had a pretty cover that was unrelated to the story inside the book. As for the rest, this is a train wreck. Why? Because this is the second issue so I should be able to pick this up and be able to get the highpoints of the story and enjoy it. Casey jumps right in and just goes. That’s great except with no basis I have no idea who is who or what is going on. Maybe that’s the point, it’s the old “we’re all gonna find out together” shtick. At the end, not did only was I confused but I didn’t care. That’s really bad for a second issue.

Final Verdict: A complete disaster unless you’ve read the first issue.

Wake #2 (of 10), written by Scott Snyder, art by Sean Murphy, published by Vertigo
Briefly: A team of scientists/ explorers deep under the sea capture a mermaid.

The Good: Murphy’s art, as expected, is great. Snyder’s script is tight and moves along quickly. This is how a second issue should read!
The Mediocre: It’s well executed but it feels generic. There are still lots of issues left in the series so it’s probably still setting up but it’s surprisingly average.
The Bad: Nothing.

Final Verdict: If you like missing link monster stories then you will like this.

Jupiters Legacy #2, written by Mark Millar, Art by Frank Quitely, published by Image.
Briefly: Superman analog has rotten 20-something kids and a younger brother with an inferiority complex. Family dysfunction ensues.

The Good: Again, this is how a second issue should read. There’s enough facts/exposition to set the stage and get me involved without overwhelming the overall story. Millar’s script is tight and the plot is setting up nicely. Quitely’s art is awesome as always.
The Mediocre: The ending. Maybe Millar is going to throw us a curve in the next issue or two but the setup seems surprising straightforward. It’s another case of “So the space monkey is really a demon? Really? That’s it? Just a demon?” I expect bigger curves from Millar so I trust this will go where it doesn’t appear to be going.
The Bad: Nothing.

Final Verdict: Although I’m worried the ending might make the overall story generic, I’m betting Millar will take it someplace unexpected. If you thought the briefly sounded good then you will like it.

And the shortest review... Lazarus #1 by Rucka and Lark.   Good start which was hampered by expectations.  It was all setup to the point of potentially dull.  It'll read much better as a trade I am sure.


  1. As it happens I read all of these. Bounce is still fairly confusing even if you read the first issue. Casey starts in the middle of things and we're still figuring out what we're in. I think that may be intentional. Our lead is a stoner, so clear thinking isn't his operational forte, and we're right there with him.

    Much as I like Rucka's work, I found myself spending too much of Lazarus thinking about how his near future world doesn't feel realistic. I can't make the economics of it work.

    1. BOUNCE: If you read the first issue and it was confusing then you have to call the series a fail. How can you not? At this stage, it needs to be readable in single issue format and it doesn't appear that way.

      If it gets enough negative reviews, or no reviews at all, then that will kill the tpb sales too.

      This series proves just how hard it is to write for single issue and tpb's at the same time.

    2. As for Lazarus, I'm not sure what exactly it was but something was missing.

      Maybe there wasn't enough world building to really understand what was going on? That's all I can come up with. The family was "bad" but I can't tell why they are bad, or what their motivations are. It's not clear how the world got to this point or any of the other odd-ball futuristic look-how-bad-it-is stuff.

      Or, for that matter, why we need a Lazarus anyway.

      I am sure it will pick up and I will love it but it wasn't the strongest first issue.

  2. Of all the books here I have only read Lazarus #1 and I personally found the book to be engaging. It is a very good first chapter. The art work by Lark is excellent, the coloring is great and the story is interesting in how it has laid out various ideas and themes to be explored. When you are world building you can only do so much so fast and I feel the book did the job in getting me interesting in what is coming up down the road.

    Bounce #1 was a little confusing and not as strong a start as Sex #1 by Casey. I can see Sex making it longer then Bounce (unintended puns, but still funny).

    The best book of only a few I have read was Fury Max, a powerful gut wrenching book that ended and was as harsh an ending as I have read in almost any book. This series was great and I loved how the ending pulled no punches.