Abyss: Family Issues #1

A comic review article by: Chris Murman
EDITOR'S NOTE: Abyss: Family Issues comes out on Feburary 16, 2011. Judging by the rating we gave it, you should totally pick it up.

It’s been too long since I’ve seen the gears in Kevin Rubio’s mind turn. I haven’t looked forward to another comic more than Abyss. The first mini-series was special to me, not just because it introduced me to the fine people running Red 5 Comics, not just because I am a fan of Rubio’s work, and definitely not because this is a super-long, run-on sentence.

Abyss reminded me of the fun we should have reading comic books.

Now, we all know sophomore series have their challenges. Going back to the well can be difficult, as this first issue shows. Eric Hoffman’s not so innocent anymore, but Rubio used this opportunity to have the son of super-villain Abyss inherit a whole new set of problems. As a fledgling superhero, the community isn’t really all that welcoming. His father’s company is running on fumes, with few advocates now that Eric outed his father’s true identity. On top of that, he now has a crush on Quiver and doesn’t necessarily know what to do with those feelings.

Sounds like a typical teenage drama, right?

The first issue definitely brings the funny right away. Without spoiling it, Eric gets a rude awakening when he realizes the business of being a superhero can lead to some confusion. His first run-in with Quiver doesn’t quite go as planned. In addition, the same witty comic book clichés are still in effect. Rubio’s ability to not take himself so seriously is what make his work refreshing. Instead of trying to craft the next great cape-and-cowl drama, he pokes fun at them. While it doesn’t happen all the time, when comic books do this it usually brings a much needed dose of levity to the industry.

Eric is definitely still in the “coming of age” stage of the tale of the hero. He has to get over the fact that people still don’t trust him because of his father, and he has to earn his stripes a bit. I would imagine a few twists in this series to keep things fresh, so it encourages the reader to invest in Hoffman.

This also seems to be Eric’s and Quiver’s tale together. While they aren’t necessarily an item, the notion that they will end up together practically smashes you over the head. Maybe that’s the twist, but wherever Abyss goes, you can almost guarantee Quiver is sure to follow.

While not upsetting, I was also a little disappointed that Lucas Marangon wasn’t returning to the title with Rubio. His well done work in the first series is part of the reason it was such a big hit for me. At the same time, Alfonso Ruiz has a similar style as his predecessor and should provide a fairly seamless transition for artwork. The issue does have a more anime look to it, which isn’t all that bad. Just a matter of taste, I suppose. Some of the character work is rather nice, though. The faces resemble the work of Neil Googe, whom I’m a big fan, so that’s a plus.

While the smash success of the television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars is keeping Rubio very busy, I’m glad to see he took the time to return to Red 5 for another series. When I reviewed the first issues of this title and Atomic Robo, I partly thought Abyss would outsell and out-award Robo. That is not meant to take anything away from Clevenger and Wegener. They have also crafted a fantastic vehicle to tell well-illustrated stories; I just thought Hoffman’s tale would catch on faster. Due to the fact that this isn’t the first well-produced series to poke fun at the capes and tights community, it led to less fanfare as buyers approached the store shelves.

If you missed the first mini-series, be sure to ask your local shop owner for a trade and catch up. If not, it’s not like you can’t jump right into this issue and start in medias res. I recommend this issue with both thumbs.

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