On the coffee table in the living room sat a couple copies of Faker by Mike Carey and Jock. I opened up Faker #2 and had no idea what was going on, but the characters, the art and the strange twist at the end of the issue made me want to find out more about the book. Faker #3 waits for me once I finish this review.
I read the first two issues of Intrepid in order and I’m not quite sure what’s going on. The title page mentions something about an “Age of Heroes” coming to an end and humans deciding to control their own destinies, but I have no idea what this means as. Ignoring superpowered people in the book, it might as well take place in a world not unlike our own, especially because the story opens with annoying narration about superheroes and soldiers that made me afraid I was reading either a rubbish Iraq War comic or a rubbish War Heroes-lite.
Issue #1's “Preamble” introduces us to Thaddeus Payne, head of something called the Paranormal Protection Agency, delivering a man named Joseph Paxton to a shady government facility running heinous experiments. Eventually the disheveled man springs into action, thrashes the soldiers and escapes. Good for him.
Apropos of nothing, in the middle of a book there’s a scene of a woman named Bella fighting Nazi zombies. Except they’re just a training program she created. And she didn’t program it very well because she got the swastikas wrong. Then her dad comes along and explains to us that she’s a genius. She’s the closest we get to a likable, interesting character in Intrepid--a cute girl in outdated army fatigues.
Issue #2, “La Balada De Santos Caidos” opens promisingly with a three pages of well executed silent panels (save for sound effects) that quickly give way to two pages of untranslated Spanish that are either daring in refusing to hold the reader’s hand or idiotic for assuming that we can understand what’s going on based on panels of people talking. Then there’s a fight scene with two superpowered Men in Black and a guy who hits people with a mace and then the thing is over.
Montos’ art, a bastard son of the old ‘90s Image style, sometimes redeems the script by simply being easy to follow. Heavy on the inks, Montos stumbles with a few stiff, unnatural poses for sinewy bodies and a big Deathblow gun here and there, and way too many panels completely lacking in backgrounds (and therefore context), but the artist seems to have a much better handle on sequential storytelling than some of his pinup crazy progenitors, so at least there’s that. Issue #1 has clear page layouts, striking full-page shots and an incredibly effective fight scene rendered in a nine panel grid. With Issue #2 he seems set on changing up and playing around with panels, which makes for some confusing eyesores, especially with some of the action scenes, which are ugly and nigh incomprehensible.
Two issues in and I’m not sure what Intrepid is or why I should be reading it. The book has its fair share of action, but without context or mystery or personality Intrepid is just confusing and irrelevant.
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