We presented our first group review for Titan Comics this past Friday with Death Sentence and we’re happy to present our second group review for A-1. It should be interesting to see what each of the reviews/writers of Comic Bastards has to say about it, but we won’t stop there. Each of them will also give it a score of either: Buy, Borrow or Pass. Before we begin here’s a blurb about the title from Titan Comics. The exciting return of the award-winning graphic anthology series, this time monthly in a new format. Three great ongoing strips: WEIRDING WILLOWS: the worlds of Wonderland, OZ, Neverland, Mars, Pelucidar and Elysium clash in the little English town of Willow Weir. ODYSSEY: An immortal superhero out of place and time finds himself in the middle of a war for mankind between the Angels and the Demons. CARPE DIEM: The World's Seven Greatest Assassins. One for each day of the week. Their leader is always a Sir Monday... but the rest of the team always hate Mondays.
A1 #1 was impressive to say the least. It reminded me of what Image has been doing with Creator Owned Heroes but with better stories. The three stories that were introduced in this issue were a lot of fun to read and each one was unique and had great art. My personal favorite was the first story, "The Weirding Willows". It was very fairytale-esc and like many books in the re-told fairytale genre had many character names that you have heard before but it was a mash up of tales that aren't used too often, with the exception of Alice in Wonderland, but still great none the less.
Stories two and three, "Carpediem", and, "Odyssey" were interesting and both held up very well. Carpediem is very entertaining and I love the heist-like action that it delivers. It definitely has enough potential to stand alone as its own ongoing series. At first I thought that Odyssey was some sort of Captain American knock off but the plot twist grabbed my attention and I'm excited to see where the story goes. The supernatural undertones are what attracted me and the mystery of what the doctors are trying to achieve is what is hooking me in. July 10th is when issue #2 is coming out and of course now that I'm looking forward to its release, June is going to be one hell of a long month until I can get another fix of A1.
While simultaneously being one of America’s favorite condiments for steak, A-1 is also the name of Titan Comics’ answer to Dark Horse Presents: a collection of short serials that showcases delectable bites from, in my opinion, the industry’s most promising publisher. This format is basically the Sizzler of comics; or Golden Corral, if you prefer ... which I do. Its first story, “The Weirding Willows,” is essentially The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but with a slightly realigned cast of characters, including (but not limited to) Alice in Wonderland, Dr. Doolittle, Dr. Moreau and Mogli from the Jungle Book. It’s a bit unclear where this is heading as yet, but it does promise to unleash an army of flying monkeys, and that’s got to count for something.
The second story, “Carpediem,” is by far the book’s best. This is the madcap sort of misadventure I slurp right up, with huge surprises from the outset and events driven by a team of nutty little weirdos. It even has a recipe to make your own broccoli monster, which I think goes without saying is pretty goddamn great. Meanwhile, A-1’s final story, “Oddyssey,” makes for a nice frosting by syphoning the beginning of the classic Captain America origin story and adding a dash of some dark voodoo-type stuff instead of super drugs. It will be interesting as hell to watch all of these shorts develop, and as with pretty much every other Titan book I’ve taken a peek at so far, I’ll definitely be slathering my pull list with A-1.
I reckon anthologies can be one of the hardest things to pull off, especially when the stories don't seem to be revolving around a similar theme. The main problem being you may only like one of the stories and want to see more of them but can't as the ones you don't like get in the way.
To me the first story “The Weirding Willows” was boring, an amalgamation of a whole bunch of different fictional stories and characters. The second, “Carpediem” is a slightly weird spy/hero type story and this is the one I liked. The third “The Odyssey” is like a Captain America possessed by an entity (from what I gathered) and I didn't really like this one either. One out of three of the stories interested me at all, but the art in all three looked pretty decent.
Wow, I dig the anthology idea. Getting three stories in one lets me skip through to better stories and pass the other ones on. Or I enjoy all three stories and hoard them for myself. I am so glad that Titan Comics has decided to bring this back. Having different writers and artists allows the reader to experience creativity from all different people.
Without a doubt my favorite story was Carpediem. Assassins named after days of the week; love it. Also the main character gets his head blow after like six panels. It is so outlandish that it works. Too many main characters last for so long, especially when their lives are at stake every second. I think the comic was playing fun with this idea. Plus he was too good looking and they never kill the pretty people. I laughed my ass off. I cannot wait to see what new agent they get to be Monday.
This is a very different anthology series than what you’re likely to be familiar with. Instead of a barrage of stories, it chooses to follow just three. Now that does make it a hit or miss with most folks because if you don’t like one of the stories you’re in store for several more.
Stand outs to me were “Carpediem” and “Odyssey.” The former of the two had a fantastic art style and created a world that was over the top and completely ridiculous. Each of the team members on Carpediem (which I have tried to write as Carpetdiem twice now), has a codename corresponding with a day of the week. They also each have their own gimmick or power set and face a ridiculous villain named Aaron Chef and his giant salad. It was entertaining and that’s all I needed from it. The team was great and I look forward to more.
Odyssey to most will appear as Captain America plus magic. Again, I had no problem with this and enjoyed how serious the story was. The dialog and narration was excellent and the ending panel was striking. If you enjoy anthology styled stories then pick it up, if not then it’s your loss.
Score: 4 Buys and 1 Borrow
“The Weirding Willows”
Writer: Dave Elliott
Artist: Barnaby Bagenda
Writer: W.H. Rauf
Artist: Rhoald Marcellius
Writer: Dave Elliott
Artist: Garrie Gastonny
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: 6/12/13