Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Troublemakers #1 (Acclaim Comics)

Ok, seriously, why does Acclaim Comics get so much hate? For a start, they dumbed down none of the Valiant properties they bought up (contrary to what people keep saying), nor were their original properties bad. In fact, one of them, Quantum and Woody, is one of my all-time favourite comic series' out there. Today, I'm looking at Troublemakers, another of their original series' (set in their same Valiant remake universe).

Pharmaceutical company Galloway and Galloway have been in the business for years, but in the 1960's, they started a secret project to create superior human beings, using employees as parents for them. The products, now teenagers, are Chris (XL), Zach (Rebound), Parker (Blur), and Jane (Calamity), all endowed with varied superpowers...

This is a great first issue to Troublemakers! It introduces the characters well, doesn't overwhelm you with tons of backstory you need to know to understand things, and best of all, the story is not only humorous, but emotional too, with a great ending! When I say humorous, what I mean is that this isn't funny, but it's not trying to be-It just has an air of lightheartedness to it.

While we don't know a whole lot about the main characters, we see varied actions and conversations, which help flesh out their characters. Also, it helps that one of the group hasn't appeared yet, so the issue didn't have to cram in as much character introduction and development as it could into 20 pages.

The powers the kids have are definitely an interesting bunch. For example, if Chris is standing near someone, she can mimic that ability/power, and better too. The powers aren't used this issue for anything like, say, fighting crime, but they do help advance the plot, which is good. The only problem is that it hasn't been explained yet why a pharmaceutical company is creating human life with superpowers. Are they trying to better mankind? Take over the world? Great super kittens? I don't know.

The story is narrated by one of the worker's at the G&G company, in the form of letters to his son. It's done very well, and has a great payoff at the end. The font it's in is messy, as is the perogative of running writing, and it could certainly stand to be a bit bigger, but it's still easily readable.

The dialogue is all fine, and there's no annoying dated '90's slang from the kids or anything. However, one line is badly dated-"Barton Fein is tenser than Bob Dole in a vise". I'll be the first to say that I don't get that. The only reason I even know who Bob Dole is is, well, frankly pretty obvious. "Transmission over!"

The artwork is good. A little weird in places, and Youngblood's Disease is here and there, but for the most part, it's fine. Definitely better than what one would expect from 90's artwork. There's one scene of a panty shot of a teenage girl, which one'll likely find a tad icky, but its at least relevant to said humorous scene, so whatever you think of it, it's at least not just there for the creepy male gaze. Why do I have the feeling that 'just' should be italicized...

The cover is meh. There's no background, and the characters either have severe Youngblood's Disease, or are scrunching up their face, or both. Also, on the cover is Jane, the fourth main character...Who hasn't appeared yet.

And finally, Acclaim comics always had page numbers-Yes! Sweet robo-Jesus, YES! I am so pissed off by all the comic companies that never number their issues! It's infuriating for a whole number of reasons.

This is a fine opener to Troublemakers, and I definitely look forward to what else the series has to offer!...

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