It’s with some sadness that I have to share just how much I did not enjoy the second issue of Venture. Some and not immense because the comic gods have been bestowing good reading fortune on me for a few weeks now, and I needed to conduct some tithing before the next issue of Sex Criminals. Recently, I had resolved to try to read more comics from actual independent publishers (ie not Image, IDW, Archie and the like), and decided to blindly check out Venture out of those titles released by publishers unfamiliar to me. Alright, so I lied there. I saw that Jay Faerber wrote the script, and although I haven’t kept up with Copperheard, I really liked his character development and synthesis of Western and sci-fi elements. Recalling that, I then half blindly decided on Venture, trusting that Faerber would fire away at this material with the same energy and detail. Now I’m ten minutes short on life, and I’m wondering whether it’s more likely that there’s another Jay Faerber who writes comics, or if he wrote the script to this one during a four hour break from his other work. Venture features a man named by Joe Campbell with flight, super strength and some degree of super human durability. In the premiere issue, he responded to a fire, and ends up captured on camera while on fire by tabloid journalist Reggie Baxter. Seeing potential fame and fortune by pairing up with Campbell, Baxter puts a photo of Campbell in his tabloid, which results in Campbell confronting him in a parking garage. Baxter makes his extended pitch in the lot, then a drive with a follow-up walk on the beach. Reluctantly, Campbell agrees to Baxter’s idea and we’re treated to a makeover scene as Campbell is costumed by Baxter’s friend and gets a trim. Just before the issue wraps up though, Campbell takes on a couple of thieves in a stolen armored bank car and saves a hostage.
I’m not even getting a hint that there’s anything original or well-executed with this comic that seems content with simply making its way to the end after a boring couple of scenes. Neither Campbell nor Baxter feel like compelling characters, both more thinly written than any combination of filmic Fantastic Four characters. Tonally, this comic doesn’t work hard enough to even indicate you should be feeling certain emotions at any given moment. Illustrator Jamal Igle draws competently enough to let us know what all the characters are going through, but all of it feels like melodrama, such as Campbell and Baxter’s initial conversation in which both characters sport facial expressions and mannerisms seen umpteenth times in such similar scenarios elsewhere.
It’s always a bummer when a comic doesn’t satisfy me, but luckily it doesn’t happen too often. Venture won’t deter me from checking out work from more monthly titles from independent publishers. However next time I think I’ll try to preview a page or two before just in case I’d be better off spending five minutes trying to determine whether it’s a two or three coffee sort of day.