by James Robinson (Writer), Steve Pugh (Artist), Guru-eFX (Colorist)
The Story: Revelations are always better after a violent battle against an alien being.
The Review: There is a certain complaint about comics nowadays saying that perhaps super heroes are now a good lot darker than they once were in the past. Some camps are in accord, while others disagree, much like any topic, but many people seem to particularly like comics that have a certain sensibility toward lighter or more heroic dispositions. Series like Mark Waid’s Daredevil or Action Comics by Greg Pak are currently critically acclaimed for their general positive tone, or at the very least for their capacity to let their heroes be good in an outspoken manner through their actions and words. Still, despite it all, there is always room for every type of tones in the sun, though there seems to be a certain affection for the regular super hero adventures nowadays.
However, even though there is a certain appreciation for the genre, it doesn’t mean that everything that tries to do just that will find success. All-New Invaders, so far, possess everything it needs to succeed, yet is plagued by some particularly big problems that weights it down, never letting it reach the quality it could very well attain.
Using regular super hero tropes, James Robinson does not do much of anything new in this story to warrant any actual excitement or surprises. To make matters worse, there is a certain use of the much-less appreciated faults associated with the genre that makes some moments rather cringe-worthy, like the boasts of Tanalth the pursuer, the fact that she runs away even though she is winning, the general acceptances of Captain America over rather important revelations and a few jumps in terms of logics makes this issue rather simple and much more easy-going than it needs to be in some places.
Another fault of this comic would be the dialogue, which goes out of its ways to be either clichéd in some places or out of characters in others. While there are occasional lines that are good, they are unfortunately few as they are washed down by some repartee of some characters or through rather long and bothersome exposition. While there is an understanding that the characters featured are rather old and may speak in a manner that reflect this, there are far too many moments in which they speak in ways that simply don’t fit with their characters, such as the now supposedly happy-go-lucky Bucky or Captain America calling the others ”guys”. In a way, it feels rather strange to see the man who wrote such great comics like Starman and The Shade being responsible for this.
Not everything is bad, of course, as some of the strengths of James Robinson are actually visible. Mixing some new ideas with older ones, there are some neat uses of older characters like Aarkus, the WW2 past of the team along the current status quo of Bucky Barnes and the results of the Builders war in space. Playing around with the history of the Marvel universe, Robinson seems willing to mix things up in ways that could very well prove to be entertaining down the line. It’s mildly effective here, but it does prove that a larger plan is at play, which does bring out some interest for those actually invested in the history of this comic universe.
Still, one of the much more acceptable aspects of this issue is the art of Steve Pugh, who is able to mix things up in terms of style in a rather visually pleasant manner. Opening things up with overly dark and tense pages with Bucky, the military and alien feeling of the story is actual very decent, with a lot of shadow play and a certain economy of details in some panels that works wonderfully well. Where it begins to wander in uneven quality, though, is with the action scenes and the moments in broad daylight. While the backgrounds, the explosions and some of the poses are rather nice-looking, most of the characters there are a bit static, with the illusion of movement being a bit lost in the panel to panel flow. There are some good panels when they are inspected individually, yet the fluidity is a bit lacking, as are some of the characters. Their faces, their body language and many other smaller details are not the best around, with Bucky and Jim being a bit too unexpressive, bordering between minimal and non-existent in some cases in terms of emotions. As a whole, this issue works visually, but there are many areas in which it could be a bit stronger.
The colorization by Guru-eFX, though, is rather effetive. While not subtle in any ways, the major brightness in most key scenes, combined with atmospheric choices in some of the more dialogue-heavy moments, makes for a rather bombastic enhancement to some pages. It works very well in the action scenes and for the most part in the expositions, but it is certainly more effective when dealing with the explosions and impact of the fight against Tanalth. There are other scenes where the colorization change in terms of style, such as the flashback sequences and the first part with Bucky, which shows a good range for the colorist, but subtlety isn’t exactly present here as well, with rather classic techniques being used in effective ways to set the right mood. It helps the visual, though, which is a good thing for the issue as a whole.
The Conclusion: Although it is plagued by many problems, there are some nice concepts and some very decent art at the heart of things that makes this a somewhat acceptable read. It could certainly be better considering the creative team, but future issues might tell if it can reach its potential.
Hugo Robberts Larivière