Current Reviews


Number of the Beast #1

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Scott Beatty
Christopher Sprouse, Karl Story (i), Johnny Rench (c)
DC Comics
"To Raise Up"

There's some strange goings on in a government run facility that collects blobs. Meanwhile on a Silver Age styled earth, where it appears the '50s mentality never stopped, a group of heroes risk their lives fighting Saturnians, mobsters and plug-uglies, oh my!

Without Chris Sprouse, this would be a three and a half bullet story. Beatty evokes an old-school feel. His heroes are familiar archetypes with a few good twists. Dialogue is more plot-oriented than character-directed, with some exceptions, but it's all economical and light.

The battles are in the classic vein until the very end where an old lady meets her maker in a laugh out loud funny moment that prompts our heroes, the Paladins, to think of breakfast. That's the trigger where Number of the Beast distinguishes itself from other wannabe Justice League Unlimited books.

Bring Chris Sprouse to the easel and suddenly a slightly above average story gains a visual quotient that makes the book worth adding to your collection. Sprouse's designs for the heroes give them artistic characterization and bestow uniqueness to each. He makes the fights fun, and they're cleanly orchestrated, with some stellar cartoony flourishes.

Without Sprouse, Number of the Beast would be merely a technically well-written diversion. With Sprouse, the diversion becomes a more than pleasant reading experience.

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