Review: Atlas Unified #1

I’m about a week late on this review since I promised one on the last podcast, but here it is after a long while. The first thing that stands out to me about this book is the cover stock. Back in the early 2000’s Marvel’s Ultimate line stood out to most comic buyers due to its heavy card stock style of covers. This meant that they didn’t instantly get creased if someone picked the book up wrong and frankly it made the book easy to read without fear of destroying the pages. Slowly, but surely they moved away from the card paper higher quality of covers to something cheaper. Yet they still charged the same price and soon enough they charged more. With Atlas Unified, not only are they using a thicker card stock type cover but they also have the rubicon layer print on top of it. I could be wrong calling it rubicon, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it is and I loved it. The story is unfortunately not as good as the cover. We start at the wedding of Tommy’s daughter. He’s wondering how the years slipped away and really seems super excited to have his daughter married off. So excited that when a big metal cube with Doc Ock hands starts flying around in the sky he takes their limo and drives off leaving his wife and daughter behind. His wife seems to understand that he sucks, but his daughter starts crying as of course her wedding day is ruined. Neither seems to notice the giant cube, but Tommy does and he’s driving towards it… in a limo. He thinks back on the day that the cube changed his life by zapping his first girlfriend and only true love… thirty years prior. Tommy really knows how to keep the torch burning, that’s for sure.

1158899_fulWe zip around to another few characters and land on a woman walking across the street. Based on her phone conversation we can say that she’s snob so it’s not surprising that when a man bumps into her she goes off on him. She insults him instantly and he starts talking in gibberish. He’s a pale dude with glowing blue eyes, but still looks like an average dude. Some more of his friends show up and they're pale with glowing blue eyes as well, from the distance they probably look like muggers. The first guy then catches a shield in the side of the head from Wulf. It doesn’t kill the guy, but I really had to wonder what the fuck this “hero” was doing throw shields at people’s domes and going for a kill shot. It made me laugh instantly because Wulf doesn’t fuck around. He’s a Thor type character who talks like a Viking, but not enough to really sell it. It makes for a very fun read since you can’t take anything this shield chucking dude says seriously.

There’s unfortunately a lot more story for this issue, but the gist is that the company “Atlas” has combined all of their properties in to one universe. They’ve created a mystery and common link to place them all in the same world and for the most part it works. They’re not trying to make them work together from the first page like some other team books (The Defenders), but rather they’ve taken a queue from DC’s First Wave series last year. It’s not great, but it’s entertaining and for what it is it’s mostly successful in regards to the story.

The art is actually very good. Artist Jimbo Salgado has a very distinct style that reminds me almost of Trevor Hairsine in a good way. Jimbo has a great name; also he has a great ability of setting up the frame to be very dynamic. Several times he breaks panels with the characters or action and it takes you out of the normal reading style most comic readers are accustomed to. There are details that he still struggles with such as hands. The second and third pages are a “splash” page and a few of the back ground people taking pictures of the cube are holding their phones awkwardly. I actually had to compare how I hold my phone to make sure the thumbs weren’t wrong on the hand because it stands out so much. Although having a group of on lookers on their phones gave it a very accurate feel.

I’m really fifty/fifty with this book. Part of me enjoys what it does and understands what it wants to accomplish, but the other part of me knows that this is a bad comic book. It’s not quite a B-Movie comic due to the production value and the art, but the story definitely is. I would still say for you to pick it up and read it for yourself and when you do, ask yourself why their cover stock is better than Marvel’s and it doesn’t have any ads but still sells for the same price. Zing!

Score: 3/5

Writer: Tom Peyer Artist: Jimbo Salgado Publisher: Atlas Originals / Ardden Entertainment Price: $2.99 Release Date: 1/4/12