Writer: Joshua Crowther
Artist: Bruno Chiroleu
Publisher: Jay Crow Comics
Super is a Kickstarter-funded comic that switched focus between two main characters Mark, the first, is a super-powered young farm boy (a lot like Clark Kent). The second is Secretary of Defense John Colbert. Mark pops up often in Surran, your standard Middle-Eastern war zone placeholder while Colbert deals with his family issues and the various politics of Washington. Understatement aside, Super is an excellent first issue. The story could easily fit within the pages of Action Comics, as Superman struggles with morality, and the responsibility of being a hero. Chiroleu’s art is smooth and expressive. The first issue as a whole feels very professional with one exception: Mark has a conversation with his friend Jordan. A handful of pages in the middle of the issue are dedicated to a sophomore poli-sci paper worth of dialogue on the ethics of US involvement in the Middle East. The dialogue as a whole feels like it does not particularly belong. This changes the tone and the flow of the whole story. It’s jarring, chunky, and distracting. With this one exception, Super is…well…super.
The Arcane Awakening
Writer: Dominic Riggio
Artist: Jacob Crippen
Publisher: Mess Bucket
It’s difficult to know where to begin here. Even the folks over at Mess Bucket seem to have had difficulty knowing where to begin. Riggio’s script began as the plot for a movie. Time went by, and he wound up finding an artist and turning the plot into comic form. The story follows the descendants of angels (Nephilim) as they gear up for the final war against the descendants of demons. Everything comes down to this last fight for the souls of all mankind. Crippen’s art, particularly the cover, which is colored by Bill Farmer, is very well done. The images can get a little muddled at times, but the styling is fresh and sleek. The story is something else entirely. Riggio’s concept is solid, and interesting, but the execution is sloppy. The Nephilim wake up in a darkened chamber and are greeted by the Holy Spirit (or the patron saint of exposition) who fills them in on their destiny, and their powers. The Nephilim, who previously thought themselves normal humans, accept this without question. They then hold a press conference and explain this to the press, who also accept this without question. Any interaction between the characters seems to serve only to explain the plot to the reader, as though everyone else already knew all of it, without any organic dialogue. The action plays out from there, and well, I might add, but everything is sullied by the lack of believable dialogue. Arcane Awakening is definitely in need of some impartial editing
The Sires of Time
Writer and Artist: J.M. Dragunas
The Sires of Time is a new piece of Arthurian legend. Dragunas’ story centers on four knights of Arthur’s legion who are tasked with guarding Camelot while Arthur and the other knights are off fighting Mordred. While Arthur is away, Morgan Le Fay attacks the castle and, though the knights hold back the onslaught, Morgan is still able to use a spell to shatter Excalibur and scatter the bits throughout time and space. By the end of the issue, Merlin himself tasks the knights with retrieving the sword. This is a beautiful first issue. The story is bold and interesting, but the art is phenomenally eye catching. The whole issue was done with a brush and crow quill (according to the back page). These ink drawings are some of the best I’ve seen, and it compliments the styling of the story as a whole. Dragunas’s art is reminiscent of the classic wood block prints found in 15th and 16th century European texts. The style is both visually stunning and functional. The Sires of Time was by far the best book of Wizard World Cleveland.