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Abyss #4

Posted: Monday, April 14, 2008
By: Bruce Logan

Kevin Rubio
Lucas Marangon, Nick Schley (i), Andrew Dalhouse (c)
Red 5 Comics
Editor's Note: The fourth issue of Abyss will be in stores on April 30th.

Exclamation: “There is soooo going to be a sequel to this one!”

Explanation: Let see, putting it as succinctly as possible – fight scene, bad guys talking, good guys talking, good guys in new costumes, bad guys in new costumes, and mini fight scene. There, that about covers the entire happenings of this issue. All except for the mysterious, cliffhanger style ending.

Examination: At its core I found the basic premise for Abyss similar to quite a few other indie publications I have read in recent months. It draws inspiration for its characters from the famous names of the Big-2 publishers and gives them a new twist. Then to set itself further apart it introduces its main character is a (mostly) new/original design. In the case of Abyss, the Arrow and his posse have quite a few elements from DC’s Bat and Arrow clans, be it in their powers, interpersonal dynamic or even individual character nuances. As for what’s new, it’s Eric, the main protagonist of this series and the son of one of the biggest villains in the Abyss-verse.

On the positive side, this resemblance gives comic readers an instant familiarity with the characters. Yet, on the flip side there is more than a passing chance that it might put off readers who would much rather read the originals than (what they perceive to be) copies. As for me, my reaction was somewhere towards the middle that in while the familiarity helped I could have done with out a few of the scenes, like the ones between Arrow and Schaafte in the previous issue. I almost expected to turn a page and see Batman and Nightwing (from a few years back) in place of Arrow and his former sidekick.

Story wise, this issue differs from the previous three in the way this time around the bad guys get an equal, if not more, screen time as the heroes. By bad guys I don’t mean just the (original) Abyss, Raifer but his own band of merry men. Using San Diego Comicon as the setting for the final showdown was a stroke of brilliance, as were the cosplayers included in it. My personal favorites were the Michelin Man and Wonder Woman.

Not everything was A-grade perfect though. While the scenes involving the baddies came across as genuinely funny the ones with the good guys (more often than not) felt forced and rather tired. Then again this could just be because of my aforementioned familiarity with their originals/inspirations which could be coloring my reactions.

Another thing that felt weak was the rather anticlimactic final-battle scene. I mean, come on, just two pages and its over?! Really? Heck, the fight with Quiver’s Latin Lover lasted longer than this one. The final showdown was without the doubt the weakest part of the entire series.

For a parting shot - as a story Abyss isn’t one of the deeper ones. Then again, I don’t think it was meant to be that. It is however one of the funnier ones. And that is what (according to me) the creators were aiming for.

Right from the get-go I’ve liked this series’ semi-cartoonish artwork. Sure I had trouble estimating what Eric and Quiver’s ages are, especially given the romantic/sexual tension between the seemingly older Quiver and the (visually) teen-aged Eric. Other than that point of contention the art team behind Abyss has just about nailed its visuals, in the action scenes, in the comedic ones and everything in between. Hope they are still on for whenever the next Abyss series comes out.

Proclamation: As clichéd the plot premise and character (inspirations) are, the final product of Kevin Rubio’s Abyss does make for a good time pass read.

You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at http://www.xcave.net



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