Review: Greatest Adventure #1

Ever since the Flash, Hawkman, Doctor Fate and the Green Lantern decided to hang out around a table team-ups have been a viable stream of comic stories that many a creator has cast a pole.  Dynamite are no exception, taking characters that at first glance don’t work well together, moulding them into a more complete whole with a variety of results.  Whether it by the ladies of the Sword of Sorrows, Batman ’66 & Wonder Woman ’77, or the more suitable team of King Features, Dynamite are more than happy to partner up characters that somehow share a common bond; in this case the heroes and heroines of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

This first issue is a rallying cry of sorts with introductions to an ever-growing cast and the reason for them coming together, the big bad.

Comic book veteran Bill Willingham is the writer charged with trying to make sense how John Carter and Dejah Thoris of Mars end up on a star ship captained by Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle.  As you can see, this isn’t a task for the feint of heart.  For the man who took on the Justice Society of America after Geoff Johns and David Goyer this should be a doddle, right?  The thing is, as alluded to earlier, these character don’t gel in any shape way or form.  Just because they are the creations of the same person, doesn’t mean that they are pieces of the same jigsaw puzzle.  Imagine if you will a comic based on Steve Bolander’s escape from Darth Vader and Rene Belloq on board the Millennium Falcon.  Just because they are all Lucas Film doesn’t mean it would be a great story.  To make matters worse, there seems to be an ongoing awareness from the characters as to who everybody is.  Whilst this is probably good for the pace of a story already laden down by a heavy word count, its does seem a tad whimsical and dare I say, a little bit lazy?

The art is by Cezar Razek who has done quite a bit of work for Dynamite Comics with a variety of writers.  For the most part  his work here is solid.  You can tell who is who, thanks to the many panels of talking heads.  This variety of faces may well change as the cast increases.  The look of the book is very “Boys Adventure” which fits the overall feeling of some of these characters  and the bygone days in which they inhabit. Whilst there is a lack of action in this issue you cannot fault Razek’s attention to details, from jungle to wooden hut to space ship bunk, the various environs are filled with nuance.  The colors are by Daniela Miwa who seems to eschew the water-color effect on Cary Nord’s fantastic cover for a standard scheme that doesn’t show the character in the best light.  A more textured style may have suited or at least given a difference between jungle life and space ship life.

I understand that Dynamite have to produce books on the licensed character they have.  Doing a team-up book  is one way to get the characters back in print without having to run a slew of books, especially as the last Dejah Thoris book was pulled so quickly.  Could it be that these characters can’t carry a comic book?  Time of course will tell, for this issue at least this book has started a pretty solid, if standard adventure.

Writing – 3 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors – 3 Stars
Cover A (Cary Nord) – 5 Stars

Greatest Adventure #1
writer: Bill Willingham
artist: Cezar Razek
covers: Cary Nord (a), Rags Morales (b), Roberto Castro (c)
incentive cover: Roberto Castro (B/W art), Rags Morales (B/W art), Cary Nord (B/W art), Rags Morales (“virgin art”), 
Cary Nord (“virgin art”)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
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