by Keith Giffen, J.M. Dematteis (Writers), Scott Kolins (Artist), Mike Atiyeh (Colorist)

The Story: Larfleeze wreaks havoc in a war against cosmic beings as Stargrave is still stuck with the Wanderer.

The Review
: I consider myself some sort of optimist. I do believe that some writers can attain the heights they once reached. I think any character has a chance to shine if given the right angle and I certainly believe that a title can actual cash in on its potential if given enough time and a good direction. There are a couple of titles that I have given the benefit of the doubts, with some actually confirming my outlook on things by actually getting better. However, not all creators and titles are so lucky as to prove me correct all the time.

Larfleeze is a title that has a lot of potential in terms of humor and high-sprawling cosmic adventure. It stars a beloved character, the creators are legendary for their previous work with the Justice League International and the artist is one that has made some rather great work previously. However, potential is not everything if it’s never really attained, as this title has been plagued by many problems, with most of them still being present in this seventh issue.

One of the main problem, which is half-solved in this issue, is the lack of potent direction. While the overarching plots do get a bit more defined with each issues, the way the main protagonists barely feel consequential and connected to them makes for a bizarre type of story. While it is thematically smart to make Larfleeze obvious to everything happening around him, it becomes a bit more tedious for characters like Stargrave to be always so impotent in the face of everything. While it does fit with the strange and sad fate attributed to him, it becomes tiresome as there is a pattern that soon becomes unfunny with every time it gets shown and used.

This is also part of the problem, as while the book can get occasionally funny, there is a cyclical repetition with the gags that just make the book seem desperate with its humor. The powerless nature of Stargrave, the idiocy and Larfleeze, the aloof nature of the Wanderer and other such things are rather boring after their seventh use. For every genuine new joke and good use of the character traits, there are at least four old jokes getting reused in ways that feel a bit cheap.

The thing that is the worst, though, is the fact that there are actual moments of genuine interest in this issue amongst the worst parts. The way Larfleeze’s subconscious represents itself as different voices like his ring and his mother, his quest to get Stargrave back and the general background on the council of ten and their war with the ancient cosmic beings are fairly interesting on their own right. They offer a lot of potential for character growth and exploration as well as for some plotlines that could fuel the book for a long time, yet it mostly feels like unexploited ideas more than anything due to their slow build and to the lack of gravitas put behind them. While the main idea is to put humor before much of anything in this book, it seems like a waste that the actual attempts at balancing comedy and action fares so poorly.

Another good aspect which is weighted down by the rest is the art of Scott Kolins, which is fairly energetic and expansive. His chaotic style suits the story very well, with a great deal of elements and details to add to the scenes and pages in terms of tone. The battle of Dyrge and Errata in the beginning of the issue is a great example of how Kolins is able to put so much in his pages without minimizing anything in terms of effect, with robots, a destroyed city and debris only adding to the general feeling behind the double-spread pages. Those kind of touches are also spread to the rest of the panels and other pages, with his cosmic moments and his actions scenes greatly benefitting from what he does best. His characters are also nothing to be ashamed of as well, with their distinct personality being very well reproduced through their expressions and emotions. Using faces, body and motion to sell his characters, Kolins does so aptly as the way they interact with the scenery is something quite fun to behold. Truly, the art is actually good in this series and this issue is a good showcase of that.

The colors are also quite potent as well, with Mike Atiyeh playing well with both bright and inherently present colors as well as more nuanced shades. Using both to present a colorful, though not obtuse approach to colors, Atiyeh manage to make a bit more sense to the general chaos of Scott Kolins art, collaborating with the artist in order to bring focus to the more preeminent elements. Using contrasts to do so, Atiyeh takes advantage of the designs of the characters, with their colors such as orange, light blue and their sort to make the scenery definitely different, with a certain dullness or hyper expressivity to make the low amount of diversity work for the book instead of against it.

The Conclusion: There are some nice ideas and a good display of artistic talent in this book, yet the repetition of jokes, lack of direction and the duller moments makes this more of a series with full of wasted opportunities than a satisfying read. Dropped.

Grade: C

Hugo Robberts Larivière