The cover for this issue had a strange effect on me; I was both intrigued and put off by it. I loved the art and the simplicity of the cover. I loved the fact that a character was talking on the cover which is so rare in comics these days. I loved the color palate picked as well. But… I really hate the font for the title. It’s distracting and looks separated from what’s otherwise a brilliant looking cover. I’m looking at it right now and it pisses me off and I don’t know why. It’s the only think about this book that I don’t like and that’s frustrating to nitpick over something so simple, but I can’t get over it. Other than that I really liked this book.
The story kicks off with a super genius/villain named Dr. Pangea as he escapes from prison. He’s hell bent on finishing his project of flattening the earth. If you catch the Pangea reference then you already know what kind of humor to expect from this story. Pangea also breaks out Super Ninja Gary and his cellmate Hank-Yes to help in his plans. Their insurance policy is that they’ve kidnapped the Mayor’s daughter so he can’t simply bomb the shit out of the town of Wikesborough aka the place they’re hiding out.
Enter Street Angel or just Jesse Sanchez as she’s known to her friends and classmates. She’s an orphan raised by the streets and has bad ass martial arts and skate boarding skills. The Mayor sends his secret police to bring Street Angel in to help him with Dr. Pangea, but instead she just beats their asses and takes their mega phone. She heads to the Mayor’s office and breaks in the door with her skateboard and proves that skateboard > door. The Mayor fills her in on what’s happening and asks for her help. This was definitely my favorite scene as Street Angel continues to use the mega phone while sitting just a few feet away from the Mayor and Chief of Police. Eventually she agrees if only to save her city.
The reason this first issue is so good is that it gets the majority of the origin story out of the way with just a few bits of narration. After that it successfully builds a world that feels real. This is a city that has ninja’s casually playing basketball at all times and a super villain that scolds his henchmen (also ninjas) for losing their name badges because they can’t be paid without using them. It’s these little nuances that make the world alive and fun to experience.
Jesse aka Street Angel is a great character. Not only is she a bad ass on a skateboard, but she has amazing martial arts skills that we never really see… she’s too fast. What’s special about her is her attitude and personality. She gives everyone the same “whatever” attitude very much like any teenager would. I dug her character a lot and think that Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca were able to bring the character to life easily and that’s rare for a first issue.
Jim Rugg is also responsible for the art which is kept in all black and white. Personally I think this suited the story more and kept with the make-believe setting of a city full of ninjas, a scientist that wants to flatten the world and a teenage girl who kills ninjas at the drop of a hat. It’s a carefree story and it’s better because of that and the reason it’s so carefree is Rugg’s approach with the art. The art brings out Jesse’s personality and the personality of the city and its many characters. Again, that’s extremely talented to be able to do that in the first issue.
I almost thought this was a one shot, but thankfully it’s not. I had a lot of fun with this carefree story that’s not quite all ages, but pretty close. I mean you might have to explain a lot of dead ninjas, but isn’t that something we’ve all wanted to have to explain at one point in our life? “Honey, what’s with all the dead ninja’s? Funny you should ask.” Comic book problems I suppose. Seriously though, check this book out. You’ll be surprised by how good it is, but even more surprised that two dudes were able to make a believable teenage girl character… and a total bad ass one at that.
Writers: Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca Artist: Jim Rugg Publisher: MonkeyBrain Comics Price: $0.99 Release Date: 6/11/14 Format: Digital