Writer, colorist, and letterer Warren Montgomery teams up with artists Lee Melton and Luis “Luruinu” Rivera to bring us John Kirby: Firefox from From Will Lill Comics. The art in this issue is actually pretty clean. The pencils, inks, and colors complement each other well, with an almost retro texture. Unfortunately, though, the story is somewhat lacking. With a few minor differences, this book really is just the retelling of an alien superhero trying desperately to save his planet. In addition to the generic plot, this issue also suffers from poor writing and editing. Which is something that the art cannot compensate for.
In this first issue we see the super powered alien, Firefox, crash landing on earth, in search for a cure to his terminal illness. With his home world in danger, and a mysterious assailant hot on his heels, he does not have much time. So he takes to the skies of Oregon looking for help, only to find the unsuspecting farmer, John Kirby. Firefox rushes down and quickly tries to explain the dire situation to John, but realizes that it is too late. His pursuer has arrived, and he is in the crosshairs. The issue ends with a mechanized galactic law enforcement agent entering the final scene and, in a twist, is there for the arrest of Firefox.
The first signs of trouble with this issue are the obvious mistakes that should have been caught during the editing stage. Littered around are words that are misspelled or missing entirely. But aside from the editing mistakes, the writing in general is too turgid. Where the narrative would describe what could be clearly seen in the panel, the dialogue would have Firefox state the obvious. Now, this used to be a powerful tool in the early days of comic books, when the art was too cluttered to see a clear picture, but it is unnecessary here. There were also seemingly awkward responses by John that stood out like a sore thumb. In contrast, however, the Mech-Hunter at the end of the book was much more believable.
What really pushed the book was the art. Aside from a lack of backgrounds, and some misshapen anatomy, the pencils were very clean. Lee’s panels flowed into each other well, with very little clash. In addition, the inks really did do a good job of adding depth to the scenes. Another positive, possibly the best, aspect of the issue was Warren’s colors. The palette was very reminiscent of the old Valiant panels. The scenes were not over rendered, and the inks stood out quite well. The splash page of the Mech-Hunter at the end was very well done by the art team, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Now, is this the worst book on the market? Absolutely not. However, it is not something I would recommend. The writing is just too unwieldy for the art to compensate. Though I am curious as to the nature of Firefox’s powers, the plot itself just feels too generic and bland. It left no real desire to see what comes next for our otherworldly outlaw. I give John Kirby: Firefox #1, 2 out of 5.
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