Review: Mr. Yang Fights Aliens #1

This book succeeds as many times as it fails. I know that’s a strange way to describe it, but that’s the truth. I laughed out loud at parts and I’m not sure I was supposed to, but there was something fun or at least entertaining about the way the story was presented, but overall it has a lot of problems. I don’t mean it as an insult when I say that it’s cheesy, but it’s very cheesy. It’s lovable because of that though. The book is from first time comic creator Mickey Lam and so I can understand why certain things are the way they are and it boils down to inexperience. The thing is that that inexperience is perhaps what makes it fun as well. There is something creatively wonderful about a product that has rough edges and hasn’t been smoothed out by the corporate machine. Some people will instantly be put off by it and I can’t blame them, but for me it had glimpses of Pinpoint to it and that made me enjoy the experience of reading it.

Mr Yang Fights Aliens LR-1The story opens up with two large panels of setting that establish that the story is taking place in London before we meet Mr. Jamie Yang, NQT. He’s talking to a parent of one of his students and is very sassy over the phone. After that we immediately meet a different student who receives the subtitle “Bad Boy” as he meets with two different teachers. They turn into aliens and eat the student and then we cut back to Yang as his boss tells him that he needs to mark his student’s books. Yang pops on a pretty cool coat and his boss inquires about it to which Yang responses with “I got it from your mum” and then peaces the fuck out for the day. After that we’re given a full-page spread of Yang standing around and thinking… and being sorry for himself. Some other stuff happens and eventually Yang is at home marking his student’s books when he hears someone call for help. He runs outside and finds a bum being sucked into a spaceship. He tries to help and gets abducted himself. Aboard the ship are a completely different species of aliens than we met before. Now Yang must fight his way off the ship and save the other abductees.

Okay I’m not opposed to thought bubbles in comics, but this book over does it. The one page splash is an incoherent bundle of thoughts that are just there. They don’t give any insight into the character other than to tell us facts about his life that aren’t relevant to the story at hand. There are plenty of more instances and really none of them help or progress the story or character development. The other thing is that there are also narrative captions/editor’s notes that also don’t really help the story or progress it. The dialogue is extremely weird at times. There’s a part where Yang finds one of his student’s abducted and it isn’t until he tells him that he saw the aliens cut off a dude’s balls and put them in a test tube that Yang really takes action. Again that’s where the cheesiness comes in.

The stories overall structure is poor. Really there’s no structure at all. The opening is disjointed and several scenes have little to nothing to do with the issue. There’s an entire scene with Yang meditating in the park that’s basically just there. The ending is also very strange as Yang obviously gets off the space ship since it’s not called “Yang Dies At Alien Hands on a Spaceship.” Usually once the objective is meet you figure the issue is done, but the story continues to go from there for several pages more.

The art isn’t bad. Mickey Lam actually sent me this book for review and really down played his skills. Sure you’re not going to find him working on a Marvel title tomorrow, but for an indie book it’s quite good. There’s still room for improvement, but there’s a style established and plenty of detail to the art which is usually missing from indie books. Yang’s hair covers his right eye throughout the book and in the beginning it’s like it’s not even there. That bothered me because I felt like you should be able to see a hint of it, but I didn’t. The action is fun as shit. Yang’s student beating the shit out of aliens was hilarious and fun. Overall it looks photo referenced which gives it a stiff look, but it’s not bad for a first comic.

This is a book that I think most people are going to love or hate. I don’t see a lot of in-betweeners because some people are going to look at it and only see the flaws and be unable to look past them, while others will only see the charm of the story and art. I’m in-between and so I can’t say you should definitely pick this book up or skip it. Lucky for you it will be available at this weekend’s Comica in the U.K. and you can check it out for yourself if you’re in the area. If you’re interested or curious you can also get it from Lam’s Esty shop which we’ll link below.

Score: 3/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Mickey Lam Self-Published Price: Digital - $1.60 Print - $8.00 (Rough conversion) Website