Group Review: Brain Boy #1

Welcome to another group review from Comic Bastards. If you look back at our previous group reviews you’ll see that these aren’t just fluff. It’s not a bunch of us giving a book a free pass. The behind the scenes is that the scoring can be very difficult meaning you can take everyone at their word. With that said each of the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the book a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass. They’ll follow that will a short reason why, but before that here’s what the issue is about from Dark Horse: When the United States Secret Service needs to stop an assassination before the killer’s even decided to buy a gun, they call the world’s most powerful telepath: Matt Price, a.k.a. Brain Boy. But when the secret agent that can read anyone’s mind finds that a powerful psychic network has been hidden from him, Brain Boy begins to wonder whether he knows everything or nothing at all!

Carl: BUY

Matt Price has the power to read minds—and almost no one rivals him in that aspect.  Add to the fact that he’s egotistical, sarcastic, and blunt, and you have the making of a great new breed of hero.  Sure, he doesn’t wear a cape or scoot around in a wheel chair with his P-Men around him.  He does have great telepathic powers and the backing of the United States Government to keep him from getting bored.

Fun, irreverent, and bold, Brain Boy delivers with action and wit.  In this issue Price must protect a dignitary from an assassin’s gun; unfortunately, Brain Boy has a powerful adversary gunning for this target.

I wish that this comic had a darker sense of humor, maybe something akin to Archer.  But the fact that I closed this comic and had a grin on my face should be a good indicator that this will be a worthwhile read.

Samantha: PASS

Brain Boy or Matt Price is a powerful telepath dude, and I can’t help but think of Harbinger when I opened this comic. Actually I thought about it the whole time. That’s why I couldn’t get into this comic. If I wanted to read about psionics I would pick up Harbinger’s new issue or even read the old ones over again. Sorry, Brain Boy has an interesting story, but mix up Woody  from Quantum and Woody with Harbinger and you get this comic. Those titles out surpass Brain Boy by a landslide.

The art was good at times, but then I noticed that at some moments it looked like Matt had thick thick mascara on, especially when he was surprised or angered by something. I don’t know what all that was about.

Honestly, just hate to see stories repeated by a new publisher. And definitely when the other publisher is getting it so right. Brain Boy will get a pass from me, and until I see something new being done, I won’t be giving it another try.

Brain Boy #1 Cover

Steve: BUY

I wasn’t sure I was going to like Brain Boy, even when I began reading it. See, I was never a fan of The Mentalist, and this seemed like a powered-up version of that: blonde guy in a waistcoat with a “good mind” for sniffing out justice. But a few pages in, I was completely taken by the undertow of Fred Van Lente’s massively engaging book. I love the main character’s mysterious backstory and how he uses his abilities (both through the story and the art), not to mention the circuitous, fast-paced path through which this story leads him.

The artistic tandem of R.B. Silva and Rob Lean fucking nails this book. Its hyper-glossy, dripping-with-pop style is really fun, but also turns out to be dynamic, particularly in the last few pages when things get hairy. Speaking of which, what’s with the beards in this book? As weird as it sounds, they all look fake or like their wearers had been finger-blasting sockets all afternoon. As a bearded gentleman myself, I demand hirsute satisfaction! Seriously though, this is a small (and admittedly unusual) gripe with an otherwise incredible artistic display, which is only enhanced by its bright, almost crystalline colors. Count me all-aboard Brain Boy’s train of thought.

Adam: PASS

For me to love a superhero comic, it needs to have a combination of a great story, lots of wit, and a fair amount of action… None of which I encountered reading Brain Boy #1.  Not at any point was I hooked in to the story-a lot of it is Brain Boy (and I’m purposefully using that name since he finds it derogatory) explaining what’s going on.  I understand we’re going to have to hear his thoughts in a comic called Brain Boy, but for me there was too much an emphasis on dialogue.  None of it was really funny, or even remotely funny.  One of the attempts at comedy was when a spectator threw a bottle of his own urine at the President of South America’s largest oil producer.  Brain Boy takes a shower and says “nobody wants me around smelling like John Wee-Wee Booth.”  Is this aimed at 8 year olds?  For a book that claims to be ‘screwy’ and ‘funny,’ it really missed the mark on both accounts for me; definitely a pass.

Dustin: BUY

Here’s the secret to Brain Boy… you have to warm up to it. I remember reading the first two chapters of its Dark Horse Presents premiere and hating it. By the third chapter I was hooked though. The main character is a fantastic douche and while he’s over confident I can’t help but see flairs of every jerky lead character to grace the TV screen in recent years and that’s why I like him. Van Lente continues the charm of the DHP appearance, but I sense much of the same difficulties from that as well. I know some people will hate it instantly, but I’m telling you that if you give it a chance it will surprise you.

Silva’s art is a pretty good fit, but he comes with a heavy superhero hand. I know the books about brain powers and shit, but the story itself doesn’t come across as capes and tights, but that’s really what Silva brings with his style. It’s not bad, but he could use some direction otherwise it’s bound to look flat and distract from the story. Overall though I dug this first issue and will be looking forward to more.

Score: 3 Buys and 2 Passes

Writer: Fred Van Lente Artist: R.B. Silva Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 9/11/13