Review: Circuit-Breaker #1

If I could say only one thing about the first issue of Circuit-Breaker I would say that it’s honest – I now feel totally fried after having read it. Now as corny and harsh as that may sound it’s very difficult to describe the feeling that follows in any other way. Countless times I found myself turning back pages or re-reading a panel to see if I had somehow missed something - maybe I just wasn’t getting it? Nope. Nuh-Uh. No way: I challenge anyone to give me a cogent synopsis of what I just read. I freak-ing DARE you. Now I hate to go to negative town, especially with a debut title but I’m afraid it’s time to break out the bass and hit the low notes of Circuit-Breaker #1. Before continuing I have to admit a bit of a personal bias when it comes to my first gripe, so I won’t presume to speak for everyone on this. That being said I know I can confidently speak for a good number of you when I say that we are sick of reading about robots!  The whole genre has been played out and Circuit-Breaker adds nothing new or original to the discussion whatsoever. We get the same old re-spun ‘SkyNet/A.I.’ scenario where robots live as servants and outlaws in a post-apocalyptic Japan, on the verge of an all-out war with humanity, destined to be saved or doomed by one chosen humanoid. It’s derivative and about as exciting as two-day-old meatloaf. No thank you.

Circuit-Breaker-#1-1A quick segue if I may: have you ever heard of non-Newtonian fluids? They possess qualities of matter that allow them to occupy both a solid and liquid state instantaneously/simultaneously. That’s kind of like what the artwork is comparable to in Circuit-Breaker: a non-Newtonian smorgasbord of constant departure from any one specific artistic medium. Throughout the issue there are strong elements of Japanese anime being interlaced with nostalgic components of classic ‘Sunday paper’ cartoons that instill a feeling of indeterminacy where constancy is required. Not only does the drawing feel rushed, but the characters are prone to going ‘off-model’ making it hard for the reader to form a true image of what’s happening, when and to whom.

I mentioned early on that I found following along with the story line incredibly difficult. The language is at best broken and where it’s not totally fractured McCarthy interjects with bits of Japanese(?). It reads as clear as watching a commercial filmed in another language for a product bought and sold in another country. Side note: if you are going to tackle something that has already been done-to-death literally a hundred times over, it had either be clear-cut brilliant or at the very least have something unique to offer. Circuit-Breaker doesn’t so much as flash brilliance nor feign intrinsic quality and that is why it ultimately fails as a first issue.

It’s upsetting when a title you were looking forward to reading turns out to be a letdown – after all no one reads anything in the hope that it's going to suck. Sometimes first impressions aren’t always true representations of a book no more than they can be that of a person. We can be wrong; opinions can change. However – my decision will be to not add Circuit-Breaker to my pull-list and it’s an opinion I don't anticipate vacating.

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Circuit-Breaker #1 Writer: Kevin McCarthy Artist: Kyle Baker Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 3/23/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital