The Demon Cold & Dissassociative Thoughts
As mentioned above, I have a thoroughly horrific flu-type cold at the minute. Therefore, this will be relatively brief since looking at a screen of any size is causing my retinas to feel as though they’re catching fire.
Thought Cycle #1 – Cyber Force #1
The first issue of Top Cow’s C.F. Kickstarter arrived in my inbox this week. Look at how pretty it is:
Below are my initial impressions after my first full read-through:
- As shown above, the artwork and coloring in this is absolutely gorgeous,
- One of the central characters is a teenage girl, but – unlike a lot of independent comics out there – this wasn’t used by the artists as an excuse to draw perky young breasts bouncing all over the place as she ran. Even when the panel view was looking top-down on the characters. In fact, there seemed to be a concerted effort not to over-exaggerate any of the female characters in this way. I wasn’t overly surprised by this as the example art on the project page hadn’t shown any leaning toward, what I refer to as, the Zenescope style. But it was still heartening to see the female characters being used as fully rounded characters; rather than eye-candy/exposition tools.
- As noted above, the team working on this have absolutely delivered on the visuals. Each panel is crammed with detail, and it’s a non-stop ride from start to finish.
- Because this is a relaunch, of sorts, a lot of information had to be crammed into this issue for those readers unfamiliar with the original series. This is obviously to ensure that everything is set-up for the rest of the ride but, at times, the jumps in narrative were slightly disorienting. However, I believe that this will flow a lot better once the next couple of issues have expanded on the information packed into this first issue. This is a five-part series after all.
- This really is a minor gripe, though I’m sure that some people will agree with me here. In the opening sequence several in-world tech words are used, eg. Blinders and Mole. Given the context within which they are used (a chase sequence) these are obviously fairly standard bits of kit that the Shoc soldiers use. Therefore, the decision to put these words in “inverted commas” aka “quotation marks” every time they were mentioned by a character was entirely unnecessary. Personally, I felt that their use served only to detach the reader from full immersion into the C.F. world. At least it did for me. Like I said, this is a minor, and very person specific, gripe.
Overall, this was an excellent start to the series and, minor gripes aside, I’m very much looking forward to issue 2. You can order your copy, and read a bit more background on the C.F. universe, over at Top Cow’s official page.
Thought Cycle #2 – Arrow
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that interested when this was first announced. In fact, I was so disinterested that I didn’t even follow the multiple production updates, set pics and poster releases for it. Justin Hartley did a fine (if somewhat sanitised) job of bringing Oliver Queen to the small screen in Smallville. But, Smallville aside, I’ve never really been that interested in the Green Arrow as a character. Being more of a Marvel fan, Clint Barton and, laterly, Kate Bishop have been my go to characters when it comes to archery grounded superheroes. Still, I decided to give it a go and I’m glad I did.
The pilot was an excellent introduction to the character, played here by Stephen Amell. From the raw opening, which had Oliver racing, bare-foot, through woods and over cliffs to signal a passing ship to rescue him from the island he had been stranded on for five years. To his solo assault on a heavily fortified high-rise office back in the city; the frenetic action associated with this character was conveyed perfectly. Some reviewers have complained that there has not been a clear enough explanation as to why Oliver feels compelled to go down the vigilante route once he gets home, but I disagree.
Whilst it wasn’t overly explained, there was enough alluded to in the flashbacks to suggest that Oliver’s dad imparted quite a bit of information to him before he was stranded. Oh yes, that’s right, he was stranded – FOR FIVE YEARS. One would assume that, as well as using those five years to teach himself Russian and become a self-taught archery expert, he probably had the time to figure out quite a bit from his father’s notebook. The same notebook that he keeps in the case with the bow. The bow that doesn’t look like it was fashioned on an island in the middle of nowhere.
The character’s previous playboy lifestyle is also on display, even more-so than it was in Smallville, which rarely shied away from showing Mr Queen as a hedonisitic, womaniser on par with Marvel’s, Tony Stark.
Ultimately, this was a great pilot. The supporting cast were played well, though the inclusion of Oliver’s best friend, Tommy, did at times feel rather stilted. The stand-outs from the extended cast were, Paul Blackthorne, as DT Quentin Laurel, and Susanna Thompson, as Oliver’s mother, Moira Queen. Again, some reviewers were dissappointed by Katie Cassidy’s portrayal of Laurel Lance, Oliver’s ex-girlfriend. But in all honesty she wasn’t given a fantastic amount to do here, and I was left with the impression that she will become a lot more important as the series progresses.
As pilots go, this one worked. I’m looking forward to catching up on the second episode, just as soon as this vile cold has been exorcised from my system by the fire behind my eyes.