Group Review: Epic #1

Well this group review is a bit different since this book isn’t out yet. You can however support it on Kickstarter if you’re interested in checking it out. I’ll be honest that not everyone on the team enjoyed the book, but that’s to be expected when so many of us review a book. Each of the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a quick blurb from ComixTribe about the book: EPIC, is the story of teenager Eric Ardor, who in a bizarre twist of fate obtains incredible powers, only to learn that his p pretty girls.

Dustin: BUY

Here’s the thing about this series, its Smallville. That really means one of two things, you’re going to like it because of that reason or you’re going to dislike it for the very same reason. It has a cute premise in which the main characters powers cease functioning when his teenage hormones kick in. It’s something that definitely plays to fans of the superhero genre as it relies not only on the tropes, but the reader’s knowledge of the tropes.

What I took away from the story was that this was also commentary about the male sexual fantasy genre of superheroes as well. Yes it wears that plainly on its sleeve to the point that it’s the characters weakness. Now granted I could be wrong and I’m very sure that the other writers will have different takes, but I looked at it more of a study of the genre presented in as fun of a way as possible. The reason the tropes are so obvious is because if you miss them then more than likely you’re the type the buys them over and over from other publishers. For me I liked it. I could see all its flaws but I also felt that that was part of the charm of the series.

Epic #1-1 copy

Carl: BUY

The Good:

-The premise of the comic features a fanboy getting superpowers and becoming a costumed hero.  His only weakness is that pretty girls deprive him of his abilities.

-The Rogue’s Gallery includes Dinorilla, a dinosaur-gorilla hybrid; Mecha-Duck, Roid Rage, and other amazingly humorous antagonists.

-The comic starts of in media res.  That’s right, no clunky, dialogue-heavy opening.

-The Dialogue is witty, germane to fanboy culture, and precise.

-The art rocks.

-The origin story involves intelligent mice.

The Bad:

-The only bad thing about Epic is that it ends in twenty-two pages.  Now I have to wait to next month to read issue 2.

Jeff: PASS

I tend to be openly suspicious of indie superhero comics because most of them are one of three types: books that try to be Batman/Spawn, books that try to be The Boys/Watchmen, and books that try to be Ultimate Spider-Man. This is the kind of book that's trying to be Ultimate Spider-Man.

The setup is during a visit to a genetics lab a foolish accident gives a teenage Superman's powers that have a very specific 'off switch'. You've read this before, not just in the pages of Marvel comics, it's the checklist indie superhero creation. It's the same teen superhero tropes that have repeated ad infinitum since Lee and Ditko kicked them out in '62, only with the perfunctory 'but the twist is...' hooks that are supposed to distinguish it in the sea of identical books. The dialogue is even obviously Bendis inspired, with internal monologues about the plural of the word 'smite' and the like.

It's not unreadable; there are some nice touches like starting the book with a long peek at things to come and a genetically engineered rat I would have preferred the book to have been about. However, many of the most memorable parts of the book were things that made me do double takes out of strangeness. Did the mom just laugh at the mention of the word 'poop'? Is the full-on Rasta janitor going to come back or was he just there to make a quick pot joke? The art's okay, with the two artists working on the book lending a decent amount of personality to the expressions but feeling stiff or generic in other places. I'm not going to outright trash the book, there are plenty of people who still have patience for the telling of this same story, I'm just definitely not one of them.

Samantha: BORROW

I couldn’t decide on this issue, and if I am ever between I just go with borrow; it is safe. The comic was a fun read though. Eric, a teenage boy, gets superpowers, but he doesn’t seem to have any powers around beautiful women. He clearly needs Viagra-hero. I love this concept, because Eric can’t use his powers to sleep with a lot of women. He may actually have to use them for good.

I thought the comic was well paced out. I didn’t feel rushed into Eric’s abilities, but I also didn’t need to wait ten issues for him to take on the responsibility of being a hero. This comic has lots of tokens in it that could work for or against it; for instance the bff that is black, the girl that is Hispanic, the jock who beats him up, the superpowers from some sketchy science lab, and so on. It has typical written all over it. I want to see where this thing goes, because it offers a good first issue even with all the typical superhero stuff. I am hoping that this is their plan in order to make me laugh and not something I they think is new. I have enjoyed myself so far, so hopefully we can more humor.

Kevin: BUY

I’m not sure what it is about the comic book Epic. I really enjoyed the almost simplistic way it takes the reader back over some of the classic comic book tropes. The world and the rules that Eric has to navigate through are so far very entreating. Any time a hero has a bully in high school that dishes out swirlies, I’m down! Speaking of Eric’s different antagonist! Let’s just say “Shock and Awe and T-Kong” had me dying with their sheer creativity. It the superhero genre reinvented? No. Is ComixTribe’s Epic entertaining? Yes.

Epic #1-2

Steve: PASS

A book built around and seemingly written for the pubescent, Epic just wasn’t for me. I’m a fan of the way James has pushed the envelope in other books, using pastiches of characters to great effect, but in Epic, it feels more like straight-up imitation than experimentation with preconceived notions and formats of superhero books. Epic feels like Spider-Man lite.

There are some genuinely cute moments in Epic (the best of which is a brief chess match with sprinkles, and I’ll leave it there), but they are frustratingly few. The art isn’t bad, and the characters have a decent polish, but with such sparse, rushed backgrounds, the overall effect of Epic feels basic, rushed and far too reliant on a premise which was done to death a long time ago. This might appeal to a younger demographic, but for old hats; this is going to feel all too familiar, without much of anything new or fresh to add.

Adam: PASS

Well, this book sucked.  Basically, the five sentence synopsis it gives you in the beginning of the book is all you need to know about it; don’t even bother reading through the actual comic.  It’s full of unfunny jokes and immature humor that even a twelve year-old wouldn’t laugh at (for example, there’s a DJ at a club named Too Nutz, clearly a rip-off of 2 Chainz).  There’s little action and when there is some, it’s not memorable.  There was a few times where I got confused due to a bad placement of the speech bubbles.  The art isn’t anything to write home about either, especially since the character’s emotions were pretty flat at some points.  For example, when Eric’s friends see him almost die, there’s a speech bubble that makes you believe they’re astonished at what they’re seeing.  Meanwhile, their faces look like they’re tired or they’re about to pass out. A teenage superhero whose powers get turned off when he sees a hot girl?  No thanks.

Score: 3 Buys, 3 Passes and a Borrow

Created by: Tyler James & Matt Zolman Writers: Tyler James Artist: Matt Zolman and Fico Ossio Publisher: ComixTribe Price: $3.99 Check out the Kickstarter