Last time, I was taken completely, though not unpleasantly aback by Stuart Moore and Gus Storms’ Image book, EGOs #1. Simple, energetic and with an old school kind of charm, it immediately won me over. But one issue does not a successful run make, Bastards. So, does the inaugural promise of this title expand further into the cosmos, or did it get stuck at its own event horizon? The fulcrum of this issue swings around the desperate mission the seductive adventurer Deuce and his new team of disguised clones undertake to engage and defeat his old nemesis, Masse: The Living Galaxy, who is currently hopping all willy-nilly from system to system getting his endless intergalactic “eat on” and ruining a bunch of days in the process.
Meanwhile, Deuce’s maritally-discontented wife Pixel seeks counsel from a most unexpected place, the universe’s population of wannabe heroes converge for a shot to join the EGOs (including our teenage space jumper from issue one) and a nebulous blob makes a crank phone call. Because that happened. So, on the surface, a lot seems to take place in this book, but at the same time ... kinda not so much?
The thing is, it feels like Moore is working on setting up a lot here, which is great - anything conceivably this big needs some time to unfurl - but it seems like he’s stretching himself a bit too thin within the allocated 25 page count. Most of this issue is built around a frankly pretty beautiful fight scene, which is all well and good, but in so doing - with all of the other concepts and characters he is trying to introduce - it also feels like Moore’s plot threads are not given enough “screen time” to take root within the audience. I’m a bit concerned those loose threads may compromise the integrity of his storytelling foundation.
For example, the nearly-mute teleporter barely makes her intentions clear (but not in an enticing way), a new minor villain is introduced and immediately (and quite literally) cast aside ... and where the hell is Pixel and Deuce’s spacebong-toking son, who presumably continues to double as the book’s narrator and was one of the bigger twists in the story last issue? These were all hanging questions that I think plagued the feel and impact of the book, rather than add to its intrigue.
I know we’re still in the very definition of “early days” here, but that also means Moore is playing in fertile ground, which would be a shame to see weakened because he tried to plant too many seeds. I’m afraid if that lack of focus continues, it might be impossible, just like in outer space, to establish any real traction ... narratively speaking.
Despite that, I still have to say that EGOs #2 was a fun, if not distracted little ride and I remain far too intrigued with it to yet put it down. I’m just hoping that the team here can simultaneously pick it up a bit.
Speaking of the other side of that team, there is an early Frank Quitely that haunts Gus Storms’ art here, with a smattering in places of Jeff Lemire. While he may not yet have refined his craft to the level of those two, and his art still wavers more in consistency, there are moments in this book that foreshadow his promise, and I can see him becoming a very big deal indeed in a few years, if not sooner.
The most memorable of these has to be the fight (if you can call it that) between the New EGOs and Masse, the culmination of which is a gorgeously grotesque light and slide show, and where Storms clearly finds the lion’s share of his focus this issue. Stunning stuff, made all the more palpable and engaging with the lighter color palette he has chosen to buoy his thick line work and the severity of the story itself. It’s still a bit rough and untamed, but I have to say I continue to really enjoy Storms’ work here and again, look forward to seeing it develop even further.
EGOs #2 did not grip me in the same way as the series’ virgin issue, but neither did it turn me off completely. I think Moore needs to shore up and condense his story, to focus it and build on the touchstones of his threads, and if he is up to that job (for which he is clearly more than capable) and Storms continues to turn in a good aesthetic lead, then I have high hopes EGOs can rebound into a pretty stellar little book indeed.
Writer: Stuart Moore Artist: Gus Storms Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 2/12/14