The Bounce has been teased and talked about for several months now. Joe Casey has promised a very different take on the Superhero genre by building it from the ground up. The different writers of Comic Bastards have come together to let you know if promises were kept or if this is another super hero title with “the ultimate slacker” at the helm. They each give it a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass. As always, before we begin here’s a blurb about the book from Image: Meet the ultimate slacker superhero for the 21st Century! Jasper Jenkins is a super-head AND a super-hero! He's relatable AND reliable and he's embarking on the adventure of a lifetime! The sensational debut of the new feel-good hero of the decade! You can't afford to miss it!
Jasper is exactly what I would picture a 20-year-old superhero as; he smokes lots of weed and eases into every situation. He is a regular dude and I love it. Instead of taking that approach of great reasonability, we get a boy who just has fun and happens to beat up some bad guys in the process.
I love Bounce’s costume. I think it is the simplicity of it. The art is pretty trippy too. In the first pages we get huge shaken screen shots of the city. It sets the tone for how the comic will be and makes me feel like I am bouncing right along.
The issue is a buy for me and maybe not many people will agree, but it is a fun take on today’s superheroes. I would like to see where the whole drug addiction takes Jasper. It seemed at the end that the drug leads to other dimensions, so maybe it really is just a get away from our world.
Writer Joe Casey and artist David Messina collaborate on a new story about a world of emerging heroes in which a good guy, The Bounce, battles the bad guy, The Crunch. As his name implies, The Bounce has the power similar to Marvel Comics’ hero Speedball. Namely, he has a kinetic force that allows him to propel like a Superball. The Bounce happens to be pot smoke Jasper Jenkins. Yawn.
Since this is Image, there are plenty of bad words. Unfortunately, they feel forced. Think of a kid who is unattended for a few minutes and just listened to a NWA album for the first time. Some guy in a suit eats a lizard and talks to army men about creating a Stargate looking device to help him achieve “a new measure of perception.” After that cryptic and uninteresting interlude, we go back to Jasper investigating drug sales from a Rastafarian known as “The Fog.” Taking a hit off “The Fog”, Jasper wakes in his Bounce outfit far away from his secret hideout, The Bounce House.”
Bouncey realizes he’s in a futuristic looking world with superheroes aplenty.
There are too many ideas being tossed around, and none of them are very catch-able. The cliché businessman making the super weapon, the villain appearance, the world just starting to have superheroes all form tropes we’ve seen before. Kick-Ass kept popping into mind when I read the book. Unfortunately, this comic takes itself serious. For the second week I encountered a book where the hero smokes out and goes off on his journeys. And for the second week I am unimpressed.
My box has been abuzz for this book ever since its solicit ricocheted into my lap, mostly because the last time I came across Joe Casey’s stuff, it was reviewing his Rock Bottom hardcover, which was fucking brilliant. At the same time, The Bounce promised to be one of my favorite low-rung characters, Speedball, literally on drugs, and that prospect equally intrigued me. I wasn’t prepared, however, for how true that second part was going to be. This thing starts off like its solicit reads: a feel-good stoner superhero story for the 21st Century, or a modern take on the masked man as unwanted vigilante in a newly-powered world ... but it sure as shit doesn’t stay that way.
It quickly, and pretty jarringly, tumbles into extra-dimensional, drug-fueled, reality-bending oddity; that’s not a bad thing, but it is pretty weird. I do like the cut of the jib on this series’ lizard-eating, chocolate milk-swigging villain, The Darling, as well as the concept of the living drug known as The Fog, but I am hazy as hell as to where their inclusion is headed and really what the fuzz is going on in The Bounce. I’m not sure if this is an origin story or just one big hallucinogenic trip / trap, but with stunning art from David Messina bopping all over the page, with crisp figures and a sharp, almost reflective shine, and a story that has me asking a lot of questions, I’ll definitely be sticking around for next issue to see just what in the blue hell is really going on here.
I was looking forward to this series, mostly due to the art. Casey’s “promise” of it being a very different take on the superhero genre sounded like fluff the first time he said it and I never put any stock into it after. The thing about this book is that it’s not very different from any other superhero title that’s been explored outside of the “big two” and really even the “big two” books for that matter. Drugs and super powers is nothing new and having a slacker character that for some reason likes to play hero is a huge contradiction. Slackers don’t do anything and they sure as hell wouldn’t put their necks on the line for others, so he’s not a slacker, he’s a drug user and that’s nothing new. Both Speedy’s were users pre-DC reboot and even Colossus in Ultimate X-Men was shooting up in order to have super strength. Prior to this The Victories handled the subject of drugs and powers and it was amazing, but this not so much.
The other major problem I had with the series was the self-aware nature the power wielders had. The villain of the story sticks around hoping that a hero will show up. Here’s a secret about any villain worth reading… they don’t think they’re a villain. Everyone is the good guy in their own story and they’re just “forced” to do bad things. They don’t go, “goody, I found a nemesis.” Also the character that called himself The Darling was just too much. I couldn’t pretend to care about what he was saying and his entire introduction was horrendous. I almost gave this a borrow, but honestly I don’t see it changing much in the next issue so why over commit to it.
Not only has this idea of a slacker superhero been done but there's even a shit movie the follows the same concept starring the Fresh Prince. I almost don't have the balls to say a bad word about Joe Casey. He's a household name that has been in the business of superheroes much longer than I've been into comics. I'm just a bastard with an opinion but The Bounce didn't do anything for me. After reading the issue I looked up Joe Casey just to make sure it was the same guy. The story just didn't make any sense to me at all.
Giving credit where credit is do is important and to that I tip my cap to artist David Messina. The Bouncehas great art and could face off against any artist that's drawing anything for the big two.
The Bounce #1 is a strange first issue in that it doesn’t really feel like a first issue much at all. The story introduces us to the adorably alliterated Jasper Jenkins, a guy who on the outside looks like just your average 30 something bong ripping low life-- BUT LO!-- our man is actually The Bounce! One of the coolest looking superheroes I have ever seen with one of the silliest looking superpowers I’ve ever seen. Seriously, why does he have to be rolled up in a ball to use this ability? It looks like something from a Saturday morning cartoon and contrasts starkly with the adult situations and super badass costume design.
Art is okay but everyone looks strangely cute and similar which was a bit jarring. Story was cool but all over the place especially for a first issue. This book felt like it couldn’t quite decide what to cut in post-production. All in all though, it’s a fun story that I’d read a second issue of.
Score: 3 Passes, 2 Buys and 1 Borrow
Writer: Joe Casey Artist: David Messina Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 5/22/13