Current Reviews


Tech Storm: Rages Of War #1

Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer & Art: Ryan Crouse
Publisher: Star Verse Comics

In the year 3050, the forces of Darkness are winning the battle between good & evil, and when the son of a famed scientist is stricken with a plague that is used by the forces of Darkness against the rebel forces that opposed their rule, we see this man began a desperate experiment to save his boy's life. However, when this attempt is interrupted before it could be completed, we see the resultant chaos results in the man's son being transformed into a one man fighting machine, whose new goal in life is the completely & utter obliteration of the forces of Darkness. To this end we see this young man, who now calls himself Tech Storm, decided the best way to begin the fight is to head straight for the top, and as such he makes a fairly impressive bid that has him heading directly into the heart of the evil fortress where the leader of the forces of Darkness resides. After dealing with the various guardians that are sent to stop him, he sets off a massive explosive charge that completely vaporizes the evil complex.

To a certain extent I'm always a bit hesitant to review the material that is sent to me by unestablished creators, as I know what it's like to have your toes trampled on when you're making your first tentative steps into a new venture, and I imagine most established writers & artists actively cringe when they look back upon their early work. On the other hand, since the material was sent in to be reviewed, one has to imagine that they are looking for feedback be it positive or negative, and while one always hopes for rave reviews right out of the gate, the truth of the matter is that early in the game most creators benefit from the lessons learned in the trenches, where critical reviews are not sugar coated.

Now that I've made it pretty clear that this is going to be a rather harsh review, I have to say that the general plot of this book isn't bad, as the lone hero fighting against an overwhelming force is a well established premise. On the other hand though, the simple fact of the matter is that this issue never really does all that impressive a job of presenting the forces of evil as all that threatening. I've always been of the mind that a hero is only as strong as the villains he, or she faces, and a further addition I would make is that it's always preferable that the hero is cast into the role of the underdog. This issue offers up a steady string of villains who accomplish little more than to serve as cannon fodder for the hero, who is clearly established as far more powerful than anything he is pitted against. There's very little entertainment value to be drawn from a battle where the hero is made out to be virtually unstoppable. A battle that doesn't leave the hero looking like they've even broken a sweat is one that writers should avoid like the plague.

The other flaw this issue had was the lack of variety when it comes to the threats. I mean imagine if Indiana Jones had spent the entire movie outrunning giant boulders, and you get a pretty good idea of the appeal one can draw from an issue where all we're offered up is a string of hapless goons for the hero to face. It also doesn't help when these goons essentially deliver the same threats when they confront the hero, as there's only so many times a villain can proclaim a hero's impending defeat before the reader starts looking for proof that the hero is actually in real danger of being defeated. A little more variety in the threats that challenged the hero as he progressed through the story would've been nice. Some death-traps, or perhaps a guardian who brought more to the table than empty threats. The book could've also shown a little more imagination in how it had the hero defeating the threats, as having him pull out a weapon & shoot them is not exactly the most inventive method of advancing the story to the next stage.

As for the art I will give the work marks for how it delivered the action, as while there were moments when the art could've done a better job showing use that a threat had been taken down, I was never really confused by the action. There's some fairly nice impact shots, and it's always nice to see an artist who is willing to play with the panel designs, as the characters occasionally stray outside the boundires of the panels. Now the art is a bit weak when it comes to figure work, and the backgrounds could stand a bit more detail, if only to establish the environment that these characters are moving around in isn't an empty void. The inking could also be a little bolder, & more defined, especially since this is a black & white comic. Still, the design work of the battle armor worn by the lead character is fairly consistent throughout the issue, which does display a nice sense of artistic continuity.

Final Word:
To be completely honest this opening issue of a two issue miniseries is hardly enough to leave me all that excited. With a lead character who is little more than a seemingly unstoppable fighting machine whose only dialogue consists of tough guy action movie lines, and a parade of threats that act as little more than cannon fodder for the vastly superior Tech Storm, the simple fact of the matter is that I was left rather bored by the entire affair. However, if one is interested in taking a look at this book then check out Star Verse Comics for more information.

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