It’s been a minute since I first read The Troop so if you want to hear me talk about it you should check out episode 198 of the CBMFP. Otherwise I would say that The Troop follows a familiar formula in that it’s an X-Men type story, but whereas a lot of comic readers have lost interest in Marvel’s mutants The Troop is interesting, mature and new. Because that’s the thing, at one-time X-Men was the biggest comic title. Everyone was reading it. I remember before the first movie I could talk to any comic fan about X-Men. That was the common ground, but after the movie and after its effects on the comics… that’s really when X-Men went downhill and stayed there. Maybe that’s why when something like The Troop comes along and feels so familiar it’s okay to compare it to what was once the biggest game in the biz.
The Troop’s biggest strength is its narration. There are multiple narrations in the first issue as we're thrown into this world that is at the starting line of people born with special abilities. The issue begins with a Black Ops looking group raiding a simple farm attempting to capture one such individual. Let’s just say that this operation to capture her is very realistic in that not many witnesses are left behind. Our narrator is revealed a little later when he teleports in having just discovered the same individual as well. After this chunk of the story we’re introduced to two other characters with special abilities that have found each other. One is a little girl and the other is a teen boy with the power of fire and it should be noted that he can make his cock heat up.
What’s well-crafted about the story is the seeds it plants for later on in the story. Each character is basically given other parts of the story and in that way it again feels like X-Men. The aforementioned series would constantly build stories involving different villains at the same time and that’s the number one thing that’s missed in other homages as well as the series itself. Now, it could be too soon to say that there are different storylines, but it reads as if there are and that’s what works for it.
Narration in any story can sometimes feel like a cop out, but in comics it’s a device that really works. It’s a way to give the reader information without giving the characters terrible and unrealistic dialogue. Here the narration serves to give the reader backstory. What’s clever is that the visuals play against the dialogue as if the character’s aren’t being honest with themselves. Personally that’s the strongest type of narration in comics. When we’re essentially lied to and shown the truth because it tells us more about the character than the actual narration.
The artwork is another saving grace because if you’re going to do a story with superpowers you better have some killer art and The Troop does. The art is realistic and has a great look, but the coloring is what gives it its personality and character. The coloring is rich and full making the art photorealistic. It looks a lot like Richard Isanove’s work which is a pretty high compliment in my book.
Now let’s randomly talk about the powers. I liked them. Some of them were playing on powers that plenty of other comics have used before, but the finer details and twists on them were interesting. I think that’s the biggest drawl for a series like this so I wanted to acknowledge that. I would tell you all the powers, but come on, that’s why you’re going to read it.
My one negative is that I think “The Troop” is a terrible name. Granted, I’m not exactly the authority on naming comics, but the title didn’t let me know what to expect when I opened the book. I was thinking it was some kind of military action story, but instead it was a makeshift family with superpowers. If you want to stretch it there is an explanation of circus freaks which you could say are a circus troop, but my goodness that’s stretching it and I doubt many will pick up on that. That said, the title shouldn’t stop you from checking out this series.
Obviously if you’re a fan or like me were a fan of X-Men then you should check out The Troop. If you’ve never checked out a “born with special abilities” book before then I would encourage you to check this one out. It’s gritty, it’s dark and kind of fucked up, but it’s an entertaining read. That and a dude pleasures the ladies with his heated cock… hard to argue against that.
The Troop #1 Writer: Noel Clarke Artist: Joshua Cassara Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/9/15 Format: Print/Digital