"Fade to Grey"
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Neil Googe
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
What a fun and inventive book. Gail Simone & Neil Googe have created a book that combine nearly ever era of comics: From the Golden Age to the Silver Age to current day. And with all of that, they've still managed create a book that is unlike any other out there.
I really cannot give this book any higher praise than to say that it reminds me heavily of Sci Fi Channel's series Eureka. Both have a special kind of quirkiness that you cannot help but enjoy when experiencing. While Eureka deals with mad and not-so-mad scientists, the inventions they create, and the turmoil they cause in the town, Welcome to Tranquility is about where super-heroes and villains go to retire, and they'll probably end up causing turmoil in the town. So while they definitely share a quirkiness and uniqueness that is not matched elsewhere, the two are quite different in the way they're each handled. Eureka is played more for "eyes rolling" laughs and WtT, while comedic in its own way, is not.
Now this is the kind of Gail Simone story I like, one that plays to her strengths as a writer. Writing characters you cannot help but immediately like. Characters such as Minxy Millions, Sheriff Thomasina Lindo, Mayor Fury, and the late Mr. Articulate, whose murder the Sheriff must now investigate. Simone also introduces characters whose names are yet to be revealed, but appear to be regulars at the local diner. I suspect those characters will end up with the majority of the one-liners and statements to the obvious. One other character that is introduced, one that may or may not turn out to be a villain, is called Emoticon. I'm eager to see where that particular character goes in this series.
As for the story itself, it would be easy to say that it's your typical introduction to all characters and lay of the land, but that's not the entirety of the story. There's a lot being built here, but it's never once overwhelming. Simone is creating her own little universe here, and one issue in, I want to know more and read more. There's also the aforementioned murder mystery to be dealt with as well. The only aspect of the story that I felt was too trite was having the ever present news reporter there. While it may end up being important for the story in the long run, right now it's a tad clichéd.
Joining Simone in this is Neil Googe. The only other series I saw Googe's work was the recently cancelled Majestic. I thoroughly enjoy his work there, and I'm enjoying it even more on WtT. He keeps the feel of what Simone is exhibiting in her writing. He's keeping it bright, open, free, a lot of which is added by the coloring of Carrie Strachan. While he's yet to be able to draw a lot of real action, he's created a town of unique individuals that are quickly recognizable already. I'm really looking forward to when Googe is able to cut loose and show some of the characters in high action. For now, it's nice to read some clean artwork.
Welcome to Tranquility is a series that should not be overlooked. It's fun, refreshing, unique. It's also a series where the upside is tremendous. I have no idea where Gail Simone and Neil Googe are going to take us on this ride, but I'm here for the long haul. Besides, where else are you going to get a character whose facial expressions are ":)" ?
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