Review: Shrugged – Vol. 2 #1

Review by: Matt Eurice Ever wonder what it would be like to have you conscience be physical demons and angels that sit on your shoulder and argue between whether to study or freebase crack? That’s pretty much this book in a nutshell. You only a get a few lines of dialogue from what I can only assume is the main character, otherwise the entire issue is an ongoing argument/dialogue between the two halves of his conscience that he never personally talks to. I’m going to make something clear before I continue this review, I have never read Shrugged before and If  you’re a fan of the series you’ll probably understand this comic far better than I did. At least I hope you will.

The book starts out with a recap explaining what happened in what I assume is the storyline to the first volume. This is explained through a discussion between Theodore’s shoulder ornaments, Dev (Nefarian), and Ange (Elysian). Basically from what I can gather, the last series was about Theodore’s year at school, and how he used powers that he channels from his two personal narrators to defeat some chick named Ember, who seems like a bitch. Whatever she did, it was bad, but this book never goes into it for some reason. Theodore managed to stop whatever it was she was doing, which I assumed would have been detrimental to the worlds that the Nefarians and the Elysians inhabit.

Shrugged_v2-01-review-2The actual story of this book is really easy to sum up; Theodore wakes up to his conscience arguing, he arrives for his first day of school; in-between his consciences blatant  and long-winded narration, he spends time at school around several different friends and then goes home and does homework. We meet several different characters including: a weird kid on a scooter dressed in a karate outfit, a Goth chick who’s extremely smart and Theo’s new lab partner who is sexy as hell. Nothing really happens; it’s just a kid’s day at school and the commentary on it from the two sides of his conscience.

The narration then switches gears, focusing on the worlds from which Elysians and Nefarians originate. It starts out in Nefario, where the king is apparently searching on foot for Ember (whoever the hell she is) who remains a wanted fugitive. The story then moves to Elysia where it's revealed that they are all working together to repair something called the transferscending chamber center, whatever the hell that is. While the king of Nefario states that this will help to avoid the events of the past, it seems as though a monster emerges just to prove that to be grossly incorrect.

I’ll just jump straight to the point, I have no idea what the hell is going on and for a first issue this seems like a very poor introduction to new readers. There so much that is never explained and nothing really happens to pull the reader in. The whole book is just long-winded, dry narration that says a whole lot, but never really explains shit. I don’t give a shit about whether Theodore should play video game or do homework and I don’t want to hear lectures from the angel, it’s just boring. When I say boring, I mean extremely boring.

The concept definitely has something to it and I feel like it could be decent with some good writing, but it certainly doesn’t show anything promising here. The way in which this book is written needs to be seriously reconsidered. It could work, but there needs to be less emphasis on the opinions of Theodore’s guardians and more on his actions in the real world. It’s much more confusing because of how thin the author spread himself with the characters; there’s too many and it makes no damn sense. I have no idea who the villain is; I don’t know where the story’s going and worst of all I don’t care.

The art is nothing to complain about; it has some pretty good moments and some where it looks extremely generic and dull. Not much to say here; if you aren’t feeling the plot, the art certainly doesn’t make up for it or help to make the narration any less dull.

Should you buy it? Probably not, I would say don’t waste your time and check back to see if the series picks up in quality at all. I’m hoping that the author just had a hard time finding a place to start this reboot and that the series will pick up steam as it goes, but that looks doubtful. If you’re a fan you should give it a shot since it’s only one dollar.

Score: 1/5

Writer: Frank Mastromauro Artists: Jonathan Marks and Micah Gunnell Publisher: Aspen Comics Price: $1.00 Release Date: 3/13/13