Indie Comics Spotlight-MPH #1, Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1,Nim #1

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By Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

MPH #1

 

mph1

“Mr. Springfield, the world’s first and only superhuman, had lost control and was trying to dig his heels in to stop.”

Designer drugs offer up a new take on a centuries old addiction. Typically, drug addicts resort to drugs primarily for the altered state of mind they offer. It’s not often that a drug is taken to give someone superhuman capabilities, but that’s just the case in MPH #1 from Image Comics. The issue is written by Mark Millar and illustrated Duncan Fegredo.

When a group of hard-luck teens in Motor City stumble upon a street drug called MPH, they gain the power of super speed. Set against the backdrop of other drugs, money, and criminal activities, one man named Roscoe is trying to get out of the business. Turns out, though, that there are authority types with different designs who send him to jail where he stumbles upon MPH, a drug that imbues people with super speed. From there, it’s safe to say his life is forever changed.

It’s a little cliché to say that MPH #1 hits the ground running, but that’s just what it does. The opening pages set the stage for what the drug is capable of doing and Millar pretty deftly weaves it into the present drug trade. Roscoe is genuinely trying to go legit and get out of his lifestyle, but he’s got the misfortune of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Roscoe’s arc in the first issue is pretty fast (no pun intended), moving him through a rather quick maturation process once he makes certain realizations. What’s interesting is that Millar has both MPH and Roscoe converge at one point, which will move the story in one direction somewhat uniformly and easy to follow.

As this is a book about people who can move really fast, Fegredo does a pretty fantastic job illustrating that speed. The first instance really gives the reader the full effect of what the drug is capable of through illustrating a character moving excessively fast. Later in the book, though, that same speed is showcased in a contrasting way, with time stopped all around the user. Fegredo handles both scenarios very well and really impresses upon the reader the world in which Roscoe lives. That world is inhabited by all manner of individuals and Fegredo offers up pretty detailed backgrounds and characters rife with emotion.

MPH #1 is extremely intriguing and kicks off with a bang. Roscoe is a man who wants to be good and live a life he chooses on his own terms, but the grander life seems to have different things in store for him. How he chooses to deal with his newfound knowledge remains to be seen, but Millar will definitely offer up a fascinating path for him. His script is very clean and sets things up quite nicely. Not only that, but Fegredo’s illustrations are very effective and offer up a nice look at the burgeoning story. MPH #1 offers a pretty compelling premise and where the creative team takes it should be quite fascinating.

MPH #1 is in stores now.

 

Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1

 

pathfinder#1

 

“We’re staying for a while, Meri. Let’s get settled in first.”

We’re long past the days of docking at a massive city full with all manner of rogues, thieves, and various other less-than-righteous individuals. Settings like that are pretty fantastic and offer a path into imagination and fantasy. Dynamite Entertainment is a publisher who’s a big fan of fantasy and is publishing Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1 in that category. The issue is written by Jim Zub, illustrated by Leandro Oliveira, colored by Ross Campbell, and lettered by Marshall Dillon.

The Pathfinder heroes head to the city of Magnimar and danger isn’t far behind. As the wizard Ezren seeks an audience with the Pathfinder Society, his adventuring allies explore the city’s ancient magic, well-hidden secrets, and deep political divides. The dangers and opportunities of the big city could bring the adventurers closer together – or tear them apart. All the more reason for Seoni the Sorcerer, Valeros the Mercenary, Harsk the Dwarf Ranger, Ezren the Wizard, Merisiel the Elf Rogue, and Kyra the Cleric of Sarenrae to spring into action.

Tales of fantasy in comics are relatively few and far between, but Zub crafts many of them very well. His ability to offer up a tale that’s full of fantasy but feels somewhat grounded in the tedium of daily life is on full display in Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1. That’s not to say the book is boring by any means, as the story moves along at a relatively easy to follow pace that clearly lays out the action. Zub crafts pretty intelligent dialogue among the characters to help move the story forward, although there is a lot to take in, mostly because there are so many characters. Zub does his best with all the action, but there is the possibility that new readers may feel a little overwhelmed.

There are some photorealistic tendencies to the art that makes the characters feel pretty lifelike. Oliveira infuses each character with their own unique characteristics to ensure that they stand out among the other key players and some general population inhabitants as well. Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1 feels like a fantasy world, courtesy of Oliveira’s ability to give each character relevant fantasy appearances keeping in line with their defined roles. Campbell’s colors are pretty solid as well, again giving each character their own distinct flair. There are a ton of panels in the book as well, with some stacked atop one another that do make some of the pages feel a little cluttered.

Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1 is something that fans of Pathfinder will definitely want to check out. Other readers with an eye for fantasy stories will also find something of interest in the issue, as it has all the makings of a good fantasy read. Zub is one of the best writers in comics these days and his talents are on full display here, fleshing out a world rife with characters and intrigue. Oliveira’s art is a strong complement to the script, helping present appearances of a variety of characters and a densely populated city setting. Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1 is a book that is packed with plot and may be a little overwhelming to some, but there’s the potential for the series to get pretty interesting.

Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1 is in stores now.

 

Nim #1

 

Nim#1

 

“…and whatever happens, I’ve to be…brave.”

If everyone had a sword capable of speech and magic, there’d likely be a lot more adventurers in the world. Well, very few do have that and Nim #1 features a character given such a gift. The issue is written and illustrated by Mark Nappin.

Nim is a young adventurer with a magical sword named Valbrand. The duo make a rather formidable team, with Valbrand offering up plenty of ability to make sure that Nim gets through all manner of undead horror and dangerous locales. Her mission is the soul of a powerful, undead opponent, which she plans to leverage into something she needs.

As a main character, Nim has many of the requisite characteristics that go into a female warrior: feisty, smart, and a little cocky. Nappin gives her a good rapport with Valbrand as the two of them banter throughout the tale in an effort to keep the story moving. This is useful, as it properly paces the book, but there are a few pages where the dialogue feels a little overwhelming. There’s a ton of text on some pages that hinders the book a little, mainly because the reader starts drowning in the dialogue a bit. The story is pretty standard as well as far as fantasy tales go, with Nim playing a pretty familiar role.

Nim eschews more traditional body armor for some rather skimpy outfits, which is likely done in an effort to make the book visually appealing. The majority of Nappin’s style is somewhat cartoonish and looks a lot like Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim. Nim #1 doesn’t feature quite the same bombast, but there are some stylistic similarities in terms of how the characters present themselves and interact with one another. Characters are clearly defined and stand out from the backgrounds. They’re also accented with very vibrant colors that help to further set the tone and atmosphere of the book.

Nim #1 will appeal to fantasy fans. It seems like Jim Zub is something of an inspiration as well, as Nappin offers a story similar to one he would create. The story is pretty harmless and gives readers a character in Nim who’s fearless and cocky, jumping right into the thick of things. Nappin’s illustrations are effective for the book and keep things relatively lighthearted and comedic. Nim #1 is the start of a pretty fascinating adventure that could play out along a rather interesting path.

Nim #1 is available via Comixology now.


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