Review: EGOs #1

Real talk? I wasn’t going to read EGOs. In fact, before I saw it was up for grabs to review here at Comic Bastards, I’d never even heard of it. Now, as we all know, taking a random shot in the dark on a book like that is always precarious, and has often led me into some irksome situations. Then again, sometimes approaching a comic that way is the absolute best; like going out for a night you thought would be mediocre, only to have a jolly nice time indeed. So, where does EGOs land? Let’s start with some context. Years ago, the galaxy was once protected by an “Earthgov”-sanctioned team of superheroes called the Earth / Galactic OperativeS (hence, the titular acronym). Having been decommissioned for some time, team leader Deuce (short for Seduce, thanks to his sexy superpowers of persuasion, and not because he has irritable bowel syndrome) along with his wife Miri (who has the less-ambiguous codename Pixel) want to get the band back together to address the universe’s growing nuisance of “ungodly creatures with weapons that can devastate worlds.” Hate it when that happens.

These are exemplified in this case by a pink energy being who keeps gut-shotting folks across the galaxy with devastating pew-pews. Little do the All New Young EGOs (referred to as such - I think - as a slow, knowing nod to Marvel) or the citizens of the universe realize, however, that there lurk far more fearsome foes, both in the outer reaches of space and possibly even within the inner sanctum of the fresh-faced (so to speak) new team.

In many ways, the framework at play in EGOs feels familiar, even with the other fare out this very minute; looks like Justice League 3000 isn’t the only book this week featuring returning intergalactic superheroes and clones in a far-flung future dystopia. Don’t get me wrong, though, EGOs is very much its own book, thanks to the sometimes overly-chatty and expositional, yet easily engaged voice Stuart Moore brings to its telling.

egos01_coverThe story itself jumps between two different times (with the interesting, though not unheard-of decision to intro with an epilogue), and weaves between its main Time and Space-spanning narrative and one which features a terrifyingly-bright teleporter named Shara, whose home life leaves something left to be desired. With her motivations shrouded in as much mystery as those of Deuce’s, whose exponentially more shocking actions at the end of the book more than sufficiently arouse intrigue, I have to say I’m totally on board for this book. And that’s not yet even mentioning the art.

I generally find that I appreciate people whose names are complete sentences, and Gus Storms is no exception. Although he’s been put to work on another book recently, he apparently is just out of college, which is … impressive. Now, while his figure work does sometimes waver, I’m already a big fan of his style. I know I say a lot that certain artists remind me of Mike Walsh, but bite down on something, because I’m gonna have to say it again here. The fact is that the thick line work and chiseled simplicity used by artists like Walsh, Aja and Samnee will, I think, become one of the visual stamps of this decade of comic book art, and that has clearly fed into the future generation as seen here in Storms’ work, which in time could be held up on high alongside those others I just mentioned.

Weirdly, and perhaps just because of the story, it also reminded me at points of Janet Lee’s art in Lost Vegas (which, incidentally, also employs visage-cloaking collars), though much more approachable and in my opinion simply better. There are also some definite notes of Riley Rossmo, which is always nice to see. The colors meanwhile remind me of those usually used on Frank Quitely art; heavy on the pastels with very limited use of shadow, and it’s a fantastic presentation for this story.

I know I’ve spent most of the time comparing him to others, but that’s not to say that Storms doesn’t put his own visual spin on EGOs; he absolutely does, and it’s a style I’m excited to watch develop over what will hopefully be a long career. This certainly was an excellent continuing debut from him after his first appearance in Twelve Reasons to Die.

Maybe because I was not familiar with its creative team and not having heard talk of the title previously, but EGOs has to be the nicest surprise for me this week. It’s a fun yet weighty beginning to an adventure that will undoubtedly explore an aging hero’s tenuous grasp of relevance and respectability, his willingness to justify ends over means and what that will hold for a universe under the threat of truly cosmic peril, all brought to life visually by a very talented relative newcomer. In the end, I was glad I took a chance on EGOs, and I think you will be, too.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Stuart Moore Artist: Gus Storms Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 1/15/14