Writer: Mike Baron
Artist: Jim Fern
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Publisher: DEVILS DUE /1FIRST COMICS, LLC
Team Badger is back at it again, with Devil’s Due/1First Comics, to bring us Badger #1. This issue is a tragic story about mental illness, veterans affairs, and the mistreatment of animals. It is also a solid first issue with a well-functioning creative team. The writing was concise and compelling the entire way through. The pencils were very clean, vibrant, and seamless. And the colors are professional and not overly rendered. There are, though, a few things that need to be worked on for future issues.
We are introduced to this surreal man, Norbert Sykes, as he signs up for the armed forces. After passing basic training, with flying colors, he is deployed with his bomb sniffing dog, Otis. The two form a close, and unbreakable bond. During an assignment, Norbert is caught off guard by an enemy combatant, and Otis comes to his rescue.
The next day Norbert and Otis embark on another mission. After unexpected events, Norbert is separated from Otis, and is taken as a POW. While imprisoned he is approached by his spirit animal, Myrtle, who asks him to fight for the animals. Agreeing to Myrtle’s request, Norbert finally made his way home. Once back in the States, he embarks on a series of events that land him in a state penitentiary, where he meets a man to help plot his escape.
Mike Baron’s script for this issue is solid. He does a great job building each character’s personalities, and their motivations. He also does a great job of setting up each scene with a theme of suspense and tragedy. The real problem with this story was that it felt rushed. There were several stories, each with their own themes and plots, in this issue that could be expanded on, but instead were glanced over. At the same time, even though it was rushed, this book was cohesive.
Both artists for this issue were fantastic. As for the inks and pencils, it was a very clean issue with some beautiful panels. Particularly the splash page of Otis defending Norbert, and the forest scene with Myrtle. Perspective was solid, and the facial expressions were very convincing. Jim only had two obscure panels in this issue, during the fight scene between Norbert and his training officer. And Paul did a great job with the colors. His secondary light sources were subtle, and his accent colors were vibrant. There were a few panels where the colors blended together, like in the training scenes, but that is easily fixed.
All in all, this book was very surprising. When I first saw the cover, I thought Oh great, another ‘90s homage. But I was wrong. This was a great issue that covered some deep topics of war and illness. The entire creative team did a great job, and I am interested to see what they do with the next issue. I highly suggest the read to anyone interested. I give Badger #1, 3.5 stars out of 5.