Current Reviews


Abyss #1

Posted: Monday, August 6, 2007
By: Chris Murman

Writer: Kevin Rubio
Artist: Lucas Marangon

Publisher: Red 5 Comics

Editor's Note: Abyss will arrive in stores this October and is now available for pre-order.

I’m not going to lie: I asked to review this book purely because of the words “from the creators of Troops,” printed on the cover. The webisodes were a cult hit back when chatting online didn’t involve avatars and webcams. It was pure comedy.

Imagine my surprise to find out a book published by a company with such affinity for the Star Wars franchise had nothing to do with Han and Luke. Instead it was a great story involving super heroes, comic books and evil genius fathers who fake their own death.

Eric Hoffman is the son of a recently deceased billionaire who flies to meet with the team of lawyers his father employed about taking over his many companies. As with most kids with successful parents, he hates his father for never being there and sending him Mien Kampf to read as a Christmas present. Of course, he was too busy going through ten years of martial arts training and learning computer coding and robotics in school to pay attention. Maybe that’s why he chooses to spend his free time reading comics instead of dating Hollywood starlets.

Sure, that last paragraph was rife with clichés galore, but here’s where the playful writing of Rubio takes over. The pacing was exquisite for starters. No part of the book dragged, with a good mix of dialogue and action to keep both sides of my comic brain occupied. The jokes were cheesy because they needed to be, but nothing felt forced. I also enjoyed how the first book’s cliffhanger mirrored the comic Eric was reading in the beginning of the issue.

Of course, the true comedy of the book was Eric finding out his dead father is in fact still quite alive and his billion dollar empire is merely a front for him living a life as the super-villain, Abyss. To call the elder Hoffman an evil genius doesn’t really do him justice. He’s rather mad, as his quips prove. I called a spade a spade when I read his line, “What? You think your privileges don’t come without a price? I’ve got a hell of an overhead not to mention guild dues!”

Father’s maniacal plan was to fake his own death, then kill his arch-nemesis the Arrow when his guard is down (honestly, if you’re worried that your dead evil enemy is going to come back and kill you, you’re living too cautiously). Of course, that means killing thousands of innocent bystanders in the process, which Eric just won’t have. He hops in his father’s suit and flies over to save the day in the family plane.

Who doesn’t see what’s coming next?

The Arrow is waiting the whole time, and thinking Eric is his father, prepares to open a can on the teenager posing as the Abyss.

I’ll just come right out and say it; this book was a really good read. The artwork by Marangon is top notch. The cartoony style fits this cheesy Saturday-morning format in which the story is portrayed. I know I would watch that show.

This book should be read. Many upstart publishers are shying away from the capes stuff nowadays, and I like the stones it took for Red 5 to put this book out. With a couple more titles like this under its belt, this publisher just might be going places. I mean, DC’s market share loss has to go somewhere, doesn’t it?

I’m going to say something I rarely say about non-Image indie books: I am going to buy Abyss. If this is the kind of quality work I can expect from the duo responsible for shooting Uncle Owen, sign me up.

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