"Something in the Way Part 1"
Writer: Joshua Ortega
Artists: Francis Manapul (p), Kevin Conrad and Rob Hunter (i)
Publisher: Top Cow/Image
Plot: Abby Van Alstine may seem like the typical snobby cheerleader, but she possesses a power she barely understands. She discovers them when what started out as a harmless game involving a spell book ends up killing those closest to her and unleashing a dark force upon the world.
Commentary: Everything about this book screams cliché. It really does. There is nothing original about the stories or characters. It has all been done before and in some cases it has been done better.
I usually don't read books like this. Outside of Fables I'm more of a bread and butter, super-hero type of guy. Stories like these, of which Top Cow seems to publish a lot of, don't generally hold my interest, but I took this assignment and gave the book a thorough reading and kept an open mind.
The end result left me conflicted.
I really want to dismiss the book as a series of clichés strung together by a very loose plot. The opening scene struck me as the writer trying to show us how disturbing he could be. It wasn't bad, just kind of forced. This was followed by the flashback scene, which is a very tired concept because you can almost see where the first storyline is going.
Then we are introduced to Abby, the main character. Here is a cheerleader type who is a bit snobby but possesses special powers she is almost unaware of. Not the most original of concepts. I mean how long did Buffy the Vampire Slayer stay on the air? Her whole character came off as thin and unimaginative. The rebellious attitude. The strict, religious upbringing. I mean the only thing missing is the scene where she straddles two cars and plays chicken with a truck. (Sorry, little Footloose humor there.) The icing on this cake is that she causes the death of her family and friends because she starts playing with forces she is unaware of and can barely comprehend.
Yeah, that's original.
Despite this dire assessment I do have to say that I am interested in what happens next. It probably has more to do with morbid curiosity than anything else. One of my odd little quirks is the fact that even if the story is so obvious and the characters so formulaic I still get caught up in them anyway. I mean I'll watch a full episode of Charmed just to see what happens. It doesn't mean I care one bit about the characters. I'd like to read the rest of the storyline just to see if things play out like I think they will, which is kind of a sorry reason to want to pick up a book.
In The End: While the story was kind of weak the art was very solid. Say what you will about Top Cow they have some nice looking books even if the plot of this book seemed like it were pieced together after rifling through Joss Whedon's waste basket. I can't articulate why, exactly, but I will track down the next two issues and hopefully I will be proven wrong and treated to a really solid story that will make me want to collect the book full time. I kind of doubt it, but stranger things have happened.
What did you think of this book?
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