We had a pretty good run of group reviews for this series, but it finally became time for someone to take over and solo it. I’ve developed an interest all three stories that run throughout A-1 and so I’m tackling the first solo review. It should be interesting considering I’ve never had to give my complete thoughts on any of the issues or stories, but it think I’ll manage considering… well this is what I do right? If for some reason you’re new to A-1 and never took notice because it was a group review, then allow me to catch you up. Three stories run throughout this anthology and appear in the same order and from the same creative team month after month. The charming thing about this series is that if you’ve picked up an issue and only really latched onto one story you can actually follow just that story digitally. Personally I would rather have all three tales, but I also don’t want to see people stop reading the series because they don’t enjoy one of the stories. However you read it, I’m sure the creative teams and publisher are happy so keep it up.
The story that starts each issue is “The Weirding Willows” from Dave Elliott and Barnaby Bagenda. The best way I can describe this story is that it’s a bit like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but instead of a league it’s just the intelligent combination of fiction worlds; from Alice in Wonderland to Jungle Book and a dozen others along the way. In this chapter we continue to follow Alice as she helps Frankenstein find his T-Rex… you read that right. We also meet Badger and Mole as Badger reveals a huge secret that will definitely play into the story more. This story moves rather slowly, but I’m actually thankful for that. If it was any faster I think a lot of readers would bail on it, but the pacing actually keeps me coming back month after month. This wasn’t my favorite story to begin with, but I’ve grown to like it. It also doesn’t hurt that the art is fantastic and has a great look and coloring to it.
The middle story is called “Carpediem” and I think I speak for the entire site when I say this is our favorite. There is something very charming about the world that W.H. Rauf and Rhoald Marcellius have crafted. Aside from the strange and hilarious humor, the look of the series is the biggest drawl for me. I absolutely love the art and soak in each and every page to its fullest. In this chapter Sir Monday dies… no surprise, but the team’s response this time is hilarious. The rest of the story is spent making Sir Friday feel inadequate and succeeding at it. As always I will be waiting eagerly for next month’s issue.
The last story to round out the issue is “Odyssey” from artist Garrie Gastonny and writer Dave Elliott. It has instant comparisons to Captain America, but when you read it you’ll see that the comparison is more to an Ultimate Captain America and one that’s never been frozen. This issue in particular did a great job of building the world and introducing another two characters with powers. It’s very good and so I won’t spoil anymore of the story. Elliott has done a fantastic job with this story making sure that the Captain America comparison is short-lived by making it extremely realistic. That’s the biggest difference, the realism. The art is fantastic and really something that you used to find on Marvel’s Ultimate line when there was a heavy focus on photorealism. It’s a great story and perfectly closes out the issue.
As I said, I enjoy all three of these stories and the fact that they all share one home. This anthology is very diverse and no two stories are even remotely similar. Because of that you have a solid reading experience that delivers a little bit of everything from action to comedy or just the strange. If you enjoy anthologies this is a no-brainer to pick up, but if you’re just looking for a something different to read then pick it up as well.
Writers: Dave Elliott, W.H. Rauf
Artists: Barnaby Bagenda, Rhoald Marcellius, Garrie Gastonny
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: 9/11/13