I’m all for Indy comics and new creators. Some of the most noteworthy work that has been produced in the comic medium over the last twenty years has come from publishers and creators outside the walls of the “Big Two”. Look at comic series like “Bone”, “Strangers in Paradise”, the Image comics movement of the 90’s, the self-publishers of today. I’m all for Indy… when it’s done right. This title may be Indy, but it’s NOT done right.
The Yuan brothers have an off the wall concept that is a perfect fit for comics. An uncle/niece team of supernatural fighters take on paranormal baddies wherever they might find them in ancient China. There is action, there is adventure, and there is even a talking rock. Sounds weird and cool right? Well…
The problem with this title begins with the art. I applaud anyone who chases their dream. It takes guts and gusto to put yourself out there. So I’m going to try to be gentle, but I make the big bucks reviewing comics so I can’t be too gentle. The art is subpar. This is the work of a rank amateur that is doing their best, but falling short. The book suffers as the style doesn’t fall into Anime or Cartoon. It just flops miserably in the middle. It looks like a high school kid got his comic in the hands of a publisher and by some freak accident it made it to print. This title needs a lot of polish.
The concept is strong enough that you would think that the book’s plot would entertain. You would be wrong. The story is too light on meaningful dialogue and the book moves at a choppy, break-neck pace that forces the reader to jump around trying to find their footing. By the time you start to really get into the plot…BOOM! Story over.
The sad part is that the issue contains descriptions of Chinese ghosts and lore that were better produced than the main story. I found myself enjoying these interludes far more than my time spent with the actual characters. If that same amount of attention had been paid to the main plot I would be writing a glowing review.
When I hear that someone wants to make their own comic I’m filled with a mixture of hope and dread. I hope that their idea will birth another Indy revolution that will spawn a thousand other independent titles, but I dread that I’ll get another wanna-be pretender. I beg Indy creators to remember that even though you may not have the budget of Marvel or DC; your book is going to be offered on same shelves that sit in the same shop as all those mainstream titles. Your book has to be just as professional looking and as sharp as anything on the market. If not, then you can forget getting anyone to take a chance on what amounts to a vanity project.
Final Thoughts: Go back to the drawing board. Invest time, money and energy into this book and you MIGHT have a winner on your hands.
Final Grade: 1 Star
Story/Creators: Matt and John Yuan
Art/Colors: Matt Yuan
Publisher: Devils Due/ 1First Comics