Thursday, June 12, 2008

Charlatan Ball #1

Amazingly there were two solid #1's that came out from Image this week. And though I am writing about only Charlatan Ball, I liked Red Mass for Mars more than I did Charlatan Ball. A little baffling, but then again, this is not the first time I have been baffled by Hickman's writing. That he finds time to write multiple comics, draw one, and still color this, delays notwithstanding is still more baffling. But I digress, I still want to talk about Charlatan Ball, because even though I liked Red Mass more, Charlatan Ball had that vibe going for it that makes books grow on me with time. And any Casey comic I can think of does the same to me.

The highlight of Casey's writing in this issue is the narration. Its not very clear whether there's actually a narrator from the fictional world of Charlatan Ball, or its simply Casey narrating in "True Believers" style, but its done in an interesting manner. This first issue is obviously a setup issue but the setup is done more obliquely than is the norm these days. Its not filled with story heavy exposition, but it introduces the protagonist, as well as the big bad. And we get to see a few pages from each. But while the bad guy, Demon Empty(yeah, thats his name) seems pretty generic, our hero Chuck Amok, while also a little cliched, seems to have more personality than the typical loser. He's got a sense of humor, and whats more, he doesn't fail to use himself as the subject of humor. He's got a rabbit sidekick, who becomes, well, I don't have words for what he becomes. Maybe I can call it Super-rabbit. So we do get introduced to the main players, get an idea of the overarching plot, as well as get an idea of what sort of tone Casey is going to use.

But I do think that the best thing about this issue is the art. As I said before, its groovy. And although there's an obvious Kirby influence, the art has a very distinct style. And the coloring adds a lot to it. I look forward to what crazy panels Andy gets to draw in future issues. Because all those covers look out of this world.

As I said before, this was a good issue, but not as good as I had expected it to be. I can't help but think how different it would have been if it was a regular sized issue. All complaints aside I look forward to future issues.

1 comment:

Custom Coaster said...

Hey great review this really makes me want to re-read the story to see some of the things I missed the first time around. I agree the Art was amazing and it does have a srong Kirby feel, but with that Andy really shows his guts with the background. What I mean is that while Kirby is the man the background was shapes like squares or lines, not that cool, but that's never the main point in a comic. Back to what I was implying Andy takes that shapes step up one, hell five and makes even the small stuff detailed to the inch in every panel. And all the character designs have it's own flare and relative character from the Marvel domain too. The story I do agree could have been more, but I thought it was a good length since why would I come back other then the art. What I'm getting at is it's that Jeff Smith slow run into things that make the book fun and clouded.