Friday, January 23, 2015

Review - 3Corps - Issue # 2

With issue number two, the 3Corps series takes a strong leap up the comic book ladder, quality-wise. Both the art and the coloring are amped up, and 3Corps begins to look more like a professionally produced comic book, rather than a comic book published by a small, independent publisher.

Not that no other comic book published by independent publishers ever come out looking professionally done. Some do. Most, however, do not, if my own past experience with them is any kind of indicator, at all.

Publishing a comic book can be an arduous - and expensive - undertaking. Publishing a comic book that has a professional grade look to it can be even more difficult, and even more expensive. Yet, the extra effort and the added expense doesn't always translate into a comic book becoming popular.

After all, the public can be finicky. It doesn't always embrace things that have merit to them. Sometimes, even solid products fail, and for a variety of different reasons.

This is one of the better examples of special effects lettering from issue two.

That said, with issue two, 3Corps succeeds grabs me from where I left issue one off at, and visually beats interest into me. It commands my attention, and even more importantly, it leaves me wanting more, by the last page of the issue.
My man, the Colonel!

Issue two succeeded in convincing me that 3Corps is a comic book title worth following. I feel like this title is a series headed somewhere worth tagging along to. The improved art and coloring were instrumental in abducting both my eye and my interest, but it is the story which ties my hands and won't let me escape.

I am, in other words, a willing prisoner. I have now become more than just a reader. I am more than just some meager excuse for a comic book reviewer. I am, quite plain and simply, a fan.

Now, does that mean that there's nothing about issue two of 3Corps that I don't like? No, not at all. But, all things considered, issue two managed to bust out, and advance deep into the territory of my interest, as a reader.

Nice snow scene helps to set the mood.
If I told you everything about issue two of 3Corps that I like, the fact of the matter is that I would end up spoiling the book for you, especially where the story, itself, is concerned - and, generally speaking, that's something that I strive to avoid, when writing reviews of comic books.

In issue one, 3Corps - whether intentionally or unintentionally - left my mind wondering who the actual villain was. Gabriel came off as a bad guy, initially, but he did a decent enough job of making me attach some sympathy to him. I began to like him, as the story in issue number one progressed. Within the span of a few pages, Gabriel came across to me as better constructed, as a character, than the guy that he was fighting, a superhero by the name of Max.

Holy fuck! Now THIS is a villain! Meet Dr. Specter! Spectacular visual!!

By comparison, issue two yields up a villain that is visually worthy of being called that. He looks the part, this Dr. Specter.

You can tell, right off the bat, that Dr. Specter grasps the role the villain. There is no way that your mind won't make that connection. Plus, he's not just another bad guy. He doesn't just do bad things. He is violent. He is vicious. He doesn't suffer from compunction.

Devastator looking good.
Maybe he's a big reason that issue two of 3Corps really began to click with me in ways that issue one failed to. That really gorgeous panel of Dr. Specter didn't hurt any, I'm sure.

His fist is clenched. He has that really devious look on his face. That sinister grin. That exposed brain.

That what?!

Yeah, you heard me. I said that he has an exposed brain - as in, I can see it.

Superheros tend to be visually pleasing, in most instances. Not that all super villains look bad. Some come across as quite dashing or as absolutely beautiful, in fact.

She has a name - Krimson!
But, not Dr. Specter.

Nope, not this guy. Not this fellow.

Dr. Specter takes devious pleasure in offending your eye. He is quite at home with blood - and by extension, bloodshed.

Plus, he talks like a villain should talk. He's an unapologetically wicked fellow. He's evil. Depending upon his mood, he might have two legs, or he might have six.

Say what?!

The Colonel getting right into character for issue two of 3Corps.

I phrase it that way, for a reason. This is one of those characters that you come across in a comic book that you really need to see for yourself, to fully appreciate what he brings to the pages of a comic book title.

Interest-wise, Dr. Specter made a bold grab for my attention. He's not content with just killing people and doing bad things. Oh, no, not Dr. Specter. The "good" doctor intends, I believe, to hook me, and to make himself one of my personal favorite villains of all time.

A wicked man.
Unfortunately, issue two of 3Corps wasn't long enough to afford our esteemed villain ample opportunity to accomplish quite that much. In other words, Dr. Specter was robbed!

But, his loss is the reader's gain, as I now want to learn - above and beyond wherever it is that the 3Corps storyline ultimately leads - just exactly what this doctor is up to over in his neck of the comic book woods. Whatever it is, it can't be good - but, that helps to make a comic book into a juicy read.

Both issue one and issue two of 3Corps begin taking the reader elsewhere. In the case of issue one, it starts out talking about Daedalus and Icarus. Where issue two is concerned, the reader is treated to King Arthur and Merlin.

Both Arthur and Merlin, in fact, were part of a beautiful visual score within the pages of issue two. Now, the people over at Top Secret Press have my eye craving for more of those figures ripped from the pages of myth. It rose to the level of being a sub-production within a production. It was a fine start to issue two, and I hope that Top Secret Press will continue this trend of baiting readers of its 3Corps series with characters and elements of tales firmly rooted in mythology and lore.

ACK!! This made me want more of Arthur and Merlin.

3Corps maintains a firm grip on solid lettering, in issue two. It opens well, in issue two, and it remains visually strong across the entire issue - with one notable exception.

I really do NOT care for the lettering scheme (and the speech bubbles, for that matter) that issue number two saddled the character, Devastator, with. Honest to God, Devastator deserved better.

This looks dreadful. Thumbs down!
The coloring is still not exactly where it needs to be, as some scenes visually underwhelmed me, due to the coloring, alone.

But, by and large, issue number two of 3Corps really gets this series moving in the right visual direction. Top Secret Press clearly made a conscious effort to up the visual ante, to bring its visual A-game to the fore.

And that, my fine comic book friend, is most commendable!

Special effects lettering remains a mixed bag. There's not a lot of it going on in issue two, but where it does exist, the special effects lettering has both some really good examples and some examples that are the visual equivalent of blah.

Divine speech bubble with solid lettering.
Issue two introduces the reader of this series to some new characters. They bring interest, both of the visual variety and of the literary variety, to this title.

Enter Krimson and Faceless.

It's good to have a woman in the superhero mix, now, and Krimson gets off to a strong start, by engaging the reader verbally through her opening scene with the Colonel.

Remember the Colonel? He was my favorite character out of the bunch from issue one of 3Corps.

The Colonel firing off a few choice words after his sanctuary is invaded.

Well, he's back - and he's looking good, in issue two. Plus, he's still sporting some choice dialogue. Even his opening thought bubble in issue two was right on the mark. Between his dialogue and his thoughts, the Colonel is, I believe, the best developed character in this comic book series, to date. Then again, 3Corps is still at an early stage in its life, as a comic book title, at only two issues in.

Krimson is supposed to be a speedy character, according to the Colonel's top secret files on her. Rumor has it that she is capable of speeds up to four hundred miles per hour.
Very nice!

But, that certainly didn't stop knocking the Hell out of her.

In fairness, he had her by the hand, just prior to knocking her up side the head. Even still, the fastest visual depiction of her, special effects-wise, was the scene where she is show impacting a tree, following Devastator laying the smackdown on her.

Thus far, I find myself being more of a fan of Krimson's talk than I do of her game. She's courageous, albeit it a little foolish, as she's quick to rush in where angels might be well-advised to fear.

OUCH!! That hurts!
Max performed a little better in issue two, than he did in issue one, but even still, I am still finding myself trying to like this Max fellow. He has potential, but for me, personally, Max is a superhero that has more power (in a superhero sense) than he has appeal (in a character sense).

The colorist doesn't help Max, in his bid to achieve my respect, as a reader. One of Max's moment's of intense anger in issue two was effectively killed, in a visual sense, by the resort by the colorist to color that particular panel with pale colors.

The result?

Max's intensity was sacrificed upon the alter of bad choices.

Beautiful scene. Nice coloring - only pale, which is counter to intense.

At least Gabriel, back in issue one, had the decency to beat the living Hell out of Max. That was a visual treat, even if the coloring in that issue was not up to issue two's visual standard, as a whole.

Faceless is a character that I find to be interesting, but at the same time, he's not played a very big role in the storyline, yet.
The character, Faceless.

Visually, Faceless has a strong entrance into issue two. In a nutshell, he has a solid look, visually speaking. Action-wise, he's visually downplayed in this issue.


Some mysteries in comic books take time to explain, though, but here's hoping that Top Secret Press increases Faceless' onscreen time on the panels that populate the inside of 3Corps' future issues.

Through dialogue, Faceless managed to accomplish more for issue two than he accomplished via visual imagery. His exclamations near the end of issue two were a solid way to introduce the reader to Max's fury - something that Max, himself, still struggles to visually bring to the table in this comic book series.

The thing that I don't understand about 3Corps, and by that I mean, the one thing that really continues to bother me about this comic book, is how the artist is bringing home the visual bacon one minute, but the visual impact upon the reader ends up getting muted, whether by the colorist or the artist a panel or two later.

You're damned right! Nice visual, nice special effects lettering. Solid visual punch!

That inconsistency is, I believe, robbing this comic book title of a lot of its potential impact upon readers. One minute, my eye is going, "Wow!" The next thing that I know, my eye is visually dozing off to sleep. Yet, let me tell you, and make no mistake about it - there's some really enticing scenes in issue two of 3Corps. There are some super examples of comic book art. There's even some excellent examples of coloring. But, some of the potentially best scenes do not seem to have the artist and the colorist on the same visual page. The end result is that my eye is left wanting - for something more, for something bigger, for something better.

A no-name character, but he looks good.
Namely, for that something that was in place and intact only a panel or two before. I stress this, because it is crucial - absolutely crucial, if what Top Secret Press is truly after is to deliver the best comic book experience possible.

Presently, 3Corps still isn't quite there - not in every way, anyway.

But, issue two did go a long way in moving the ball visually down the field, to get this comic book title within scoring distance for a future issue in the 3Corps series.

Unabashedly, I recommend issue two of 3Corps.

Nicely rendered, but that lettering.
Unapologetically, I continue to criticize certain things about this series.

But, all things considered, this is a comic book series that has progressed (and noticeably so) from issue one to issue two, and it is achieving the goal of being an interesting read.

Don't wait to get drafted! Grab yourself a copy, and join up as a 3Corps reader, today!

In the meantime, I'm going to soldier on as a fan of 3Corps.

3Corps - Issue # 2
Publisher: Top Secret Press
Writer: John Daniel Taylor IV
Artist: Ferran Sellares
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Colorist: Jay Moyano
Lettering: Inklight Studios
Editing: John Daniel Taylor IV & Francesca Henle-Taylor

Regular Cover
Penciler: Ariel Medel
Inker: Juan Albarran
Colorist: Jay Moyano

Variant Cover
Penciler: Sergio F. Davila
Inker: Juan Albarran
Colorist: Ivan Nunes

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