Review: Sharky – Vol. 1: When Titans Clash!

I’ve been curious about Sharky! since it was announced as part of Titan Comics line-ups and I was not disappointed. It’s an interesting world as it offers this strange window into the late 90’s of comics. There are numerous appearances from Image properties (the series original home) and several outside of there as well. Yet at the same time it has an 80’s Heavy Metal feel to it with the look and content of the story. In a way I view it as a big what if; what if Shazam had been a punk kid that read comics and instead of a wizard was just the son of Odin? If you like that concept (as you should) then you’ll like Sharky. Diving into this story you would never think that it was a reprint due to how fantastic the art is and what I assume is re-mastered coloring. The book itself has a short intro to introduce the cast of characters and in a way explain the comic infused world of Sharky. It’s a smart move on the creators end because this will be the first experience with this series for most readers. The pacing is great, but because it’s a collected edition it can be some time before you meet characters and such. It was a smart move and far more interesting than just a written recap.

Most of the chapters begin with Sharky fighting another comic book character. In the first chapter it’s The Mask. The Mask is all hulked out and he and Sharky are going blow for blow with no clear victor. After that we pull out for the battle to discover three kids reading the book. They argue in typical fashion about who would win until some jets fly overhead and catch their attention. This is where we meet Patrick the young boy who is the spawn of Odin and will one day become Sharky. The jets that caught their attention are following Odin’s Outrider who is there to destroy Thor… Odin’s daughter. That’s right, Thor’s a woman and Odin is pissed! His goal is to kill her and reclaim his son’s power. After hearing about the Outrider, which the radio refers to as an alien, Patrick and two of his friends decide to head into the city and see the alien… which is not their best idea.

SHARKY_tradeCover_webI dug this book. Don’t get me wrong the 90’s are present within the story, but it’s everything that was actually good about the 90’s. There’s some cheesecake, tons of muscles and over the top characters everywhere. Also the kids aren’t annoying and that’s a plus for any creative medium. Sure this might just be Shazam, but the mixture of Norse and Greek mythology is a great mix. Also Thor as a half-naked woman is better than any other comic Thor created in my opinion. Elliot manages to put together a very well-constructed and interesting superhero story without you ever thinking that it’s a superhero story. It has the 90’s darkness, but it’s not so dark that you write it off for being as such. Elliot crafts great characters as well; his Odin in particular is nothing like the character you’ve seen before.

Incredible doesn’t even begin to describe the artwork. Horley is masterful with his artwork. Not only does he illustrate the beautiful and detailed cover and chapter breaks, but he does the interiors as well. He doesn’t use his painted style on the interior, but he still brings the same level of detail and skill. The results are a dynamic world that is brought to life by his pencil. His take on Norse and Greek mythology is very unique and developed a layer of the story that could very easily have been average. Even though there is “cheesecake” and muscles in this story I still appreciated the craft and realism to his style; personally I’m not bothered with either as long as it looks as great as Horley makes it look.

I was very impressed with this volume and think that Titan did a great job of packaging a hardcover that can appeal to old readers and new readers. I actually hope that they’ll revive the character for new adventures since the world is extremely rich with content. There is an awesome continuation to this story in Monster Massacre vol. 1 that was a big surprise, but showed how well plotted this story is. I’ll have a review for that shortly, but in the meantime you should plan on buying Sharky!

Score: 4/5

Writer: Dave Elliot Artist: Alex Horley Publisher: Atomeka and Titan Comics Price: $19.99 Release Date: 9/18/13