The Comic Queen

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Silver Comics Review

Silver Comics 2 from Comics #1-4
Silver Comics; $2.95 each
Writers: Johnny Ortiz, Dan Beltran, Rubén Procopio; Artists: Mark Prudeaux, Vince Musacchia, Alfredo Nunez, Tony Hamad, Lou Rodriguez, Jacob Kurtzberg, Scott Seeto, Bryan Mon, Dan Beltran, Rubén Procopio

In the introduction to “Silver Comics” #1, Keoni Beeyok states, “The hope of Silver Comics is to re-introduce you to stories that run on the fuel of adventure, storytelling, and some good old fashioned artwork.”

The first four issues of this series accomplish this hope in spades. Each issue of “Silver Comics” combines different artistic styles with the sensibilities of classic golden- and silver-age comics. Honestly, most of the silver-age comics I have read, I haven’t enjoyed as much as these issues of “Silver Comics.”

Each issue includes multiple short comics typically serializing the adventures of different ongoing characters. There are also stand-alone stories, pin-ups, and even a prose entry in different issues, but, for the most part, the issues follow a rotating cast of larger-than-life characters.

When creating a new universe of characters with a golden- or silver-age feel, the two biggest mistakes possible are either copying established characters too closely or using a tone that comes off too much like parody. Thankfully the “Silver Comics” characters avoid both of these pitfalls very successfully. The parallels that can be drawn are due only to the fact that there are certain archetypes inherent in the superhero genre, and when the “Silver Comics” characters mirror “brand-name” characters more closely, it can best be described as homage.

The characters that make the most appearances in “Silver Comics” are Sea-Bolt, a hero for the seas; Cloud Buster, a soldier who becomes trapped in the super-strength mega-suit issued by the military; Man-Star, a superman-like character who—to his own horror and his world’s—kills a “peace observer;” The Man Called Santa, yep, that’s THE Santa who ends up battling Satan himself; Chameleon Man, a detective-type homage to Alex Toth; and The End, another detective-type but more on the level of Batman, for example. There are other characters, as well, who have just shown up on a one-time basis (so far, anyway).

The vast majority of the stories are great fun to read, well-written, and well-paced for the serial format. Really the only character that could have been more successful in a one- or two-story arc is The Man Called Santa, which has, after four issues, worn itself out and is falling flat. Characters I’d personally like to see more of are Chameleon Man, Man-Star, Sea-Bolt, The End, and Captain Rescue.

The art is just as enjoyable as the stories. Varying from cartooning to nearly Alex Ross-like realism, the art changes from issue to issue even with the same characters, making the stories even more dynamic and surprising. The art is so skillfully realized, it really should be garnering more attention.

The bottom line is that no matter if you grew up with the silver-age influence or if you’re simply looking for a change of pace, do yourself a favor and pick up “Silver Comics” starting from #1 for a fun, exciting, and enjoyable read.

Bottom Line: A-


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