By Patrick Wolf
‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. We’ve all heard this advice and we’ve all rarely followed it. In fact, ignoring this counsel was exactly what I was doing when I picked up a copy of Blue Baron #2.1. What I initially deemed to be a mediocre indie read quickly flipped-around after reading the first few pages. Don’t let the cover fool you: Blue Baron may be the best action-comedy series of the summer.
After the bodies of a teenage boy and a 300-year-old superhero mysteriously swap, the duo must now adjust to their new lives as the teenager becomes the crime-fighter and the ex-hero faces an even more menacing foe: puberty. To make matters worse, the supervillain Controlfreak is in town and out for some easy scores. Can the new Blue Baron defeat the master of manipulation or will he be ‘pulled-around’?
As I alluded to earlier, Blue Baron is a knockout action-comedy. Not only is it full of fun fight scenes and hilarious humor, but also it’s pretty smart. I won’t spoil it for you, but Blue Baron has an interesting and unique way of handling Controlfreak’s powers of manipulation. Don’t expect the same old ground-and-pound solution. With this series, a lot of creativity goes into every fight sequence.
Another thing I admire about Blue Baron is Darin Henry’s use of satire to liven up the dialogue and make what would normally be a cliché scene into something special. The banter between the characters is hilarious, and the relationship between Blue Baron and the teenager is right up there with other great soul-swap comedies such as Freaky Friday and Trading Places.
In fact, this series is so awesome, the only criticism I have for it is the cover art. Don’t get me wrong, Frenz and Dillon’s artwork is very beautiful. The problem is it’s done in such an overly generic style that it makes the comic appear mediocre when it’s anything but that. I understand the choice the art team made and I completely stand by it: Blue Baron is a satire, so the use of a generic style makes sense for the genre. My only qualm is that the team should have done more to emphasize the story’s comedic roots. When I first looked at the cover, my impression was that Blue Baron was nothing more than an uninspired action series. It was only when I started reading it that I realized how funny it is. This series needs to show the audience its comedic side much earlier: the cover’s a great place to start.
With that in mind, Blue Baron is an excellent series and I can’t wait for issue 2.2. I just hope Henry and his team do a better job of conveying Blue Baron’s genre in the next installment. I’d hate to see this series fizzle out of circulation because guys like me prejudge it before even opening the covers.
Blue Baron #2.1
Writer: Darin Henry
Artist: Ron Frenz and Marshall Dillon
Colorist: Glenn Whitmore
Letterer: Marshall Dillon