Review: Jack Avarice is The Courier #1

I was going to go to bed when I remembered that this book was coming out. I couldn't pass up the chance to read IDW's first weekly book and since it's all done by one man (Chris Madden) it's even more interesting. So it's basically about secret agents with animal nicknames like "The Shark" and "The Fox." Nothing wholly original. The story begins with "The Fox" stealing something from Cuba and blowing the hell out of the military base he's invaded. The general sends the entire army after the Fox including his hired super agents of his own. All the while Jack Avarice is sitting drunk in a bar in Hawaii. That's kind of what works against this story. See it's the typical "accidental spy" story line and while that's not original on its own, giving it a Uncharted feel to it does make it interesting. Unfortunately, this issue has fighting narration throughout the entire thing. Jack is describing the life he wants as a spy or something equally exciting and all the while the Fox is acting out his every ambition. The major pitfall is the scene that brings the Fox and Jack together. I'm going to spoil it, although you should be able to figure out the way the story is going to go in the first five pages. The reason I'm spoiling it? It's a "rule breaker." The Fox survives everything that's thrown at him including driving off a cliff and being shot at with a high-powered sniper rifle and during this the Shark asks him, "What it takes to kill him." The answer is apparently just a knife to the back by a crappy ninja.

The_Courier_01I knew that the Fox was going to have to be killed some way in order to get Jack into the picture, but this really showed a lack of imagination or that the product is just rushed. Hell they could have stolen a scene from The Tuxedo for all I care, anything would have been better than a knife in the back (that's not even near a major organ) from a crappy ninja. In general I hated Jack's character... I hope that was the point because that's what happened. I don't sympathize with drunk lazy people who complain that their life is boring to their Russian life coach. Frankly, I hope he gets killed. I know he won't, but deep down... I hope he gets killed and the Fox takes back over or something dumb.

The art is decent and it reminds me of combination of other artists. For the life of me I can't think of them at the moment, but it has an animation style of presentation to it with the framed outlines of the characters still showing and the general look of the art. I can't describe it in technically terms or with any certainty, but I can bet you that Madden is an animator and that's why he's able to pump out a weekly book all on his own. The style is a give away too and the closest thing I can compare it to is Hero Bear and the Kid which was also done by an animator. In general the book is so-so, but I will give next weeks issue a shot. I'm interested in the art and the overall outcome of the story more than I am of the characters or the situation that's made the story come about. I'm basically cherry picking my interests in the book which works since the creator cherry picked his pop-culture references as well.

Score: 2/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Chris Madden Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99