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Venture #1

Posted: Monday, January 27, 2003
By: Craig Lemon



Writer: Jay Faerber
Artists: Jamal Igle (p), J. Brown (i)

Publisher: Image

A cool cover, very reminiscent of Cla$$war, which is unfortunately not replicated exactly in the issue - it implies we've got this menacing, costumed, super-powered character being secretly filmed burning some building to the ground…the truth is rather more prosaic, I regret to say.

Having said that, it's still interesting, and there are still points of note. Joseph Campbell has been a History tutor at the Ralph Hinkley High School for six years, but none of the other teaching staff really know too much about him. This might be because he leads a double-life - in his spare time, he fights crime. Fortunately not in tights - he just does what he can. He seems to have super-strength, he's fast, there's some weird sh*t going on with his eyes.

Where the costume comes into it is not yet revealed, although it almost certainly has something to do with the newspaper photographer who stumbles across Joe's secret whilst reviewing hidden camera footage of one such heroic incident. It looks like future issues will see the photographer persuade Joe to don a costume and some form of disguise (say, cutting his hair short and wearing a wig at school) to be a superhero "otherwise I'll reveal what you can really do". We shall see, but that's the impression I get from the erroneous cover.

The other problem that springs to mind is where on earth Joe gets the spare time from? A typical high school teacher would find very little time to spare to go around sorting out crimes, he'd have marking, lesson prep, report writing, all sorts of tasks to keep him occupied outside of school hours. I blame JMS for making PP a teacher without showing the consequences of teaching - "with great teaching comes great workloads"…or something.

Even so, these niggles aside, the story works well, the art is fantastic - reminds one of the early days of the Black Panther book, nicely finished "realistic" art without seeming four-colour cartoony at all. I guess my only concern over this book is its longevity - get past the photog blackmailing the hero and where does it go? Not into standard superhero-fare I hope…



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