Indie Comic Spotlight-Danger Girl: Mayday#1, Conan the Avenger #1, Herobear and the Kid: Saving Time #1
By Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
Danger Girl: Mayday #1
“Shall we begin?”
Danger Girl is rife with exactly what her name implies: danger. She’s been on many adventures in her time, but few of them have put her in a tougher spot than in Danger Girl: Mayday #1 from IDW Entertainment. The issue is written by Andy Hartnell, illustrated by John Royle, inked by Jose Marzan, Jr., colored by Romulo Fajardo and lettered by Neil Uyetake.
Amidst an all-new cast of sinister characters come secrets from Deuce’s past. Abbey Chase is found mixed with some wreckage near an island that has clearly seen better days and looks to be the site of a war. The mercenaries who find her have grand plans of reviving her in an effort to bring her on their side. What they don’t completely realize, though, is that she might be more than even a skilled team of fighters can completely handle and control.
Danger Girl: Mayday #1 is sort of a book in three acts. The first act consumes the bulk of the issue and presents the scenario, the second act introduces the reader to Abbey Chase, and the third act prepares the reader for what comes next. In that perspective, the book feels slightly simple. Upon reading it, though, the reader recognizes that there’s a lot going on, with the aforementioned mercenaries essentially playing with fire in keeping her alive. They’re greedy, sure, but Abbey is clearly someone who is more than capable of handling any matter of combat situation, primarily owing to her excessive training.
Royle’s art is done well, with characters illustrated in ways that emphasize their abilities. Combat is handled pretty effortlessly, which is saying something considering Royle inks the bulk of the book with some dark lines. What’s more, the colors of Marzan, Jr., are pretty vivid, even if most of the tale takes place at night at sea. However, there are some issues where the character’s movements look a little over-exaggerated; for instance, there are quite a few panels where one of the female characters is kicking high in a way that looks almost unnatural. Other than that, though, the art is mostly presented in a way that matches the story.
Danger Girl: Mayday #1 is a book focused on a character whom many may not be completely aware of, but is someone not to be trifled with. She may not be in full force at the beginning of the issue, but it’s clear to the reader that eventually she’ll be up to speed when it comes to her capabilities. Hartnell’s script is fast-paced and a lot of setup, while the artistic team gives the reader lots of eye candy. Danger Girl: Mayday #1 is a book that Danger Girl fans will definitely want to check out and may be a good jumping on point for new readers as well.
Danger Girl: Mayday #1 is available in stores now.
Conan the Avenger #1
“I’m not unarmed. You brought me a sword.”
Conan the Barbarian is a legendary warrior with a penchant for fighting his way out of tough situations. Those situations are usually rife with weapons, blood, and violence. Every now and again, strange aspects of magic are thrown in for good measure, as they are in Conan the Avenger #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Fred Van Lente, illustrated by Brian Ching, colored by Michael Atiyeh, and lettered by Richard Starkings.
The opening of the issue features a somewhat tribal village with a chief overseeing a woman giving birth to a lizard baby. The beast quickly dies; however, the act sets the stage for some rather strange witchcraft to take in. Meanwhile, Conan is drunk with Shumballa with little knowledge as to where he’s going. It doesn’t help that he’s still hurting from the loss of his love Bêlit the pirate queen, which makes his current predicament slightly more difficult than it probably should be.
“Shadows Over Kush” is a very involved story that is steeped in Conan lore, despite being pitched as a story where new readers can jump on. Van Lente does a good job capturing the essence of Conan, a character who taps into a savage brutality when necessary, but also relies on sheer perseverance when faced with adversity. The thing is, the remainder of the issue feels a little muddled. There’s a lot happening in terms of characters and actions, but it feels a little confusing at times. Half the issue focuses on Conan’s state and capabilities, while the second half focuses on the strange things happening around him. It’s sort of an odd pacing that makes the book feel slower than it actually ends up.
Ching’s illustrations are pretty well done and rely on a disguised complexity in the character illustrations. Conan actually looks slightly thin in appearance; he still has some muscular definition, yet doesn’t look tremendously overpowering. The thing is, Ching still manages to make the character extremely efficient and effective in his fighting, even if he’s not the biggest guy around in the book. It reflects a fierceness in Conan and his appearance fits in well with the characters around him. Ching’s focus on the action also gives the reader a good sense in terms of what’s happening, as Conan looks just as comfortable escaping a prison as he does slashing opponents.
Conan the Avenger #1 is an interesting book. It’s sort of a reboot of Conan, presenting him in something of a stripped down state. Having said that, it’s not overly welcoming to new readers in some ways, as it doesn’t really give the reader much context for what’s going on. That’s not a knock on Van Lente, as he provides very solid dialogue that effectively carries the action, even if the pacing of the book feels a little awkward. Ching’s illustrations stand out and make Conan feel every bit the champion he is, even if he doesn’t look like a massive bodybuilder. Conan the Avenger #1 is a book Conan fans will definitely want to check out, but may be a little intense for new readers.
Conan the Avenger #1 is in stores now.
Herobear and the Kid: Saving Time #1
“Time. We all think about it. But what is it, really?”
Kids have tough daily routines. That includes hanging out with friends, being imaginative, and fighting to save time itself. The last bit isn’t quite the most typical thing for a kid, but it is for Tyler in Herobear and the Kid: Saving Time #1 from BOOM! Studios. The issue is written and illustrated by Mike Kunkel.
Tyler and Herobear are up to their usual tricks. They’re playing video games, living life, and looking after their mysterious family butler Henry. It turns out that Henry has a few secrets of his own that not even Tyler is aware of. What’s more, Mr. Von Klon has his own machinations in mind that are dedicated to making Tyler’s life a little more difficulty than it needs to be.
Kunkel’s writing talent doesn’t miss a beat here, as all the characters feel familiar and the book is full of childhood innocence. Tyler is convincing enough as a small child, enjoying life as such and generally hanging out with his ten-foot tall polar bear friend named Herobear. The duo are tasked with saving the day and that they do, even in the face of surprises. Kunkel’s latest story adds in something of a twist in terms of Tyler’s family history, with a pretty major secret revealed to him about his lineage. Kunkel manages to make that secret intriguing and really launches off of it for the remainder of the issue (and likely the series).
Kunkel doubles down on the creative front, also illustrating the book. His illustrations remain just as lush as before and do a lot more with black, white and red than most other books do with a wider ranger of colors. The characters are simple enough in appearance where the book feels much like a comic strip and really flows along. He does a really good job as well illustrating both Herobear and his crocodile opponent, really tapping into some anthropomorphism skills that are really effective. There are some rather traditional panel layouts throughout the book, which really work for the book and its subject matter.
Herobear and the Kid: Saving Time #1 is another book in the great featuring two familiar characters in adventures that are unfamiliar. Tyler and Herobear are much like Calvin and Hobbes and both go through their own series of adventures that tap into a child’s imagination. Kunkel’s script is evenly paced, despite a lot of dialogue. His art is equally up to the task of matching the words, presenting Herobear as a hero and Tyler as a truly rambunctious youth. Herobear and the Kid: Saving Time #1 is a great, fun book that’s definitely worth checking out if you want something a little lighter.
Herobear and the Kid: Saving Time #1 is in stores now.