REVIEW: Skybourne #1 (of 5)

This new mini series from BOOM! Studios  starts with a simple explanation, which leads to an action paced story, with just enough dialogue to help the reader work out what the hell is going on.  Lazarus, after his miraculous resurrection, fathered three children; Abraham Skybourne, Thomas Skybourne and Grace Skybourne.  Being the spawn of Lazarus brings about some pretty cool genes.  Each sibling is blessed with superhuman strength, impenetrable skin and immortality. This is their story.

As the issue begins, we join Grace as she attempts to purchase a sword.  However, this isn’t just any old sword.  And when I said purchase I mean she tries to forcibly wrest it from its temporary owner when he tries to push up the price.  Unfortunately, forcibly doesn’t really do justice to what occurs in the book.  There is a level of violence that is only matched by Grace’s single-mindedness on her quest.

Created, written and drawn by Frank Cho, this book is  an example of how to get the best out of few words and exposition.  Reading the book, there is a simplicity that confounds current comic book styling.  Here, there appears to be a lack of deeper darker motivation other than, there is a sword that the bad guy has and good guys in the shape of Grace, want it.  When written like that, my description belies the style and (no pun intended) grace of the storytelling.  Cho makes a bold step of stating the rules and then challenges them, pretty much out of the gate.  This effectively takes away a level of comfort for the reader; the rug is always being pulled out from under your feet.

As well structured the writing is, Frank Cho will always be more well-known for his art.  His has the unfortunate ability to draw curvy attractive women in an industry which seems to think that by taking away some of the sensuality and sexuality of the female form, somehow makes for equality, missing the point that inequality occurs across the broad spectrum of gender, body image, sexuality etc.  My experience of Cho’s work are his covers, yes including that one and of course Apes and  Babes. With that in mind, I was pleasantly surprised to see the level of storytelling throughout the book.  It is a far cry from what I expected.  True, Grace does have a certain wondrous look about her, but still the pace of which she moves through the panels and her determination shows how strong a capable she is, which is surely the correct interpretation of equality? Art wise, the only thing I could possibly criticize is the lack of background details.  Cho overcomes that with the excellent addition of colorist Marcio Menyz whose painted look emphasizes the characters in the panel, reducing the need for those pesky detailed backgrounds.

I am of an age where I remember a certain UK TV show called The Champions, which featured three agents who gain super abilities.  With this in mind, I was very wary when I started reading this book.  That concern quickly dispersed due to the sheer quality of book, with its clarity of purpose and clear strong storytelling.

Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars

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