Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review - Unstoppable Origins # 1

Next up on the chopping block is Unstoppable Origins # 1, from Unstoppable Comics.

For me, this is like taking a ride back through time, because I already know that this comic book was created before the comic book that introduced me to the Unstoppable Comics universe - Unstoppable Origins # 4: The Origin of Dr. Zero.

So, as I explore and review the art, coloring, and various other aspects of this comic book, I remain cognizant of the fact that much progress has been made with titles published subsequent to this one.

That said, let's proceed by digging into Unstoppable Origins # 1.

Had this particular comic book been my initiation into the Unstoppable Comics universe, my impression of the company as a comic book publisher would likely be substantially more subdued than is actually the case.

I firmly believe that all is fair in love and war and comic book reviews. Why? Because, ultimately, reviews of comic books tend to be an exercise in subjectivity writ large.

This is a nice scene setter. Great visuals, great moment!

A lot about comic books is neither right nor wrong, but rather, simply a matter of choices considered and exercised. There are plenty of comic books that other people love, which I am not enamored with, and likewise, there are comic books that I consider to be marvelous bits of literary scrumptiousness that others would no doubt view with disdain.

Starstriker or Starneck?
Unstoppable Origins # 1 features a front cover that has striking poses and decent coloring, but for some reason, Starstriker's neck looks a bit too long. It is an anatomical quirk that my eye keeps gravitating to it, as I sit and visually soak in this cover.

Of the two characters displayed on the front cover, Interceptor is, by far and away, the more visually engaging - and visually exciting - of the two.

Two flags also adorn the front cover, the Union Jack of British fame and the flag of Puerto Rico. They inject large doses of color, and act as visual stimuli, and while they help to inform the reader of the characters' respective origins, they don't really drive the imagination and get the juices flowing.

Judging solely by the front cover art, Interceptor clearly means business, and Starstriker is more in pose mode, than a man of action.
Visual blandness.

This is where we begin to flip the page, to see what lies on yonder interior pages of this comic book.

A quick flip past a boring credits page leads the reader to Puerto Rico, and to the first real page of the first of two separate stories.

The interior art is of a middling quality. It's not bad, but neither is it particularly imaginative.

As you begin flipping pages and reading the story, certainly, some of the creatures that you encounter are imaginatively drawn. But, for my personal taste, it is too little to entertain my eye for very long. My reaction to it is subdued.

The Story of Starstriker tells the origin of how the character got his name, which is a bit cheesy. But, in fairness, comic books and cheesiness have a long history of going hand in hand. Such humble tabloid beginnings!

The origin of Starstriker's powers is more interesting than the origin of his name, but even there, one can only work so much depth into a dozen or so pages.

And that's one of the core problems with Unstoppable Origins # 1. It is said that haste makes waste, and I find myself wondering why I wasted my time trying to learn about not just one - but two - character(s), each allocated only a dozen pages to flesh them out from the point of the reader knowing nothing about them, whatsoever, to bringing them up to snuff on who these super powered individuals are.

This is the visual real deal.
Unstoppable Origins # 1 teaches us about Starstriker's link to another individual, one named Marocael, a character that I first encountered in a brief mention in Unstoppable Origins # 4: The Origin of Dr. Zero.

Starstriker's origin has a certain generic feel to it. The cave that Marocael guarded - was it the only such cave in existence? From whence does he gain his powers? From an entity called Mother Earth. Neither the cave nor Mother Earth do much to imbue Starstriker with an origin that tempts you, as a reader, to get lost in thought about such things.

Mother Earth
In Unstoppable Origins # 4: The Origin of Dr. Zero, we were given a genuine, honest-to-God villain that has an authentic air of individuality about him. In Starstriker's origin, however, who were the demons and monsters that escaped? Who knows?! Various things collectively contribute to watering down Starstriker's significance within the Unstoppable Comics universe.

The single best thing about Unstoppable Origins # 1 is to be found in Starstriker's origin, and not in Interceptor's origin. Namely, it's that splash page/dual page panel work that is bright and colorful and full of the imagination playing out directly before the reader in visual form. Such a pity that the rest of Unstoppable Origins # 1 did not take its cue from that splash-fest of visual goodness!

Visual energy grabs the eye!
Interceptor's origin is a tad more interesting than Starstriker's origin, and better equipped for human drama. Plus, it ties the character directly to the mythos of the Lady of the Lake of Excalibur fame.

But, visually, the story pales next to what it strives for, in a literary sense. JayDee Rosario's imagination was much bigger than the artists came prepared for.

Ironically, Interceptor commanded more interest from me, when he was just a soccer player, than after he became adorned with super powers, courtesy of the shield that he carries.

A lively expression.
And that shield? What's up with that? As a geometric shape, it's fine. Yet, for detail and ornamentation, it is bland and visually boring. What a wasted opportunity that the shield turned out to be - unless there's something in store for it in a future issue. Let's hope so!

I am not a fan of how the Lady in the Lake sought Marcus Penn out. That strikes me as being out of synch with the Lady of the Lake's preexisting mystique.

Plus, the time away that Marcus took, what kind of ship was he on? A cruise ship? On a lake in England? The largest lake in England is less than six square miles in surface area. So, has the Lady of the Lake now become the Lady of the Sea?
Cruise ship or ferry?

It just struck me as odd. Something just didn't quite seem to fit. This oddity left me stuck at a chasm, one that my mind doesn't want to suspend disbelief for, that I might buy in to Interceptor's origin.

Unstoppable Origins # 1 did give me one thing that was worth mentioning - and that was a nice visual introduction for the Gravewalker. Unfortunately, JayDee Rosario's lettering for that moment did not rise to the visual grandeur of the occasion.

Now, THIS is the Gravewalker that I've been waiting to see!

But, sadly to say, Gravewalker went visually downhill from there, in Unstoppable Origins # 1. His battle with Interceptor was a rushed affair. As abruptly as he appeared, Gravewalker departed. What the Hell?!

Gravewalker doing a poor imitation of Thor.

Overall, neither the art nor the coloring chart memorable ground. This is definitely middle ground stuff, where such considerations are concerned.

Very nice special effects lettering!
The special effects lettering proved to be a mixed bag, with some of it being pretty good (notably in the Origin of Interceptor), and some of it being of the so-so variety.

The lettering of the speech bubbles was solid, and the lettering of the narrative boxes was acceptable. The lettering is actually the most consistently decent selling point of this particular comic book from the Unstoppable Comics universe.

As to the visual special effects, this issue proved to be a very underwhelming experience - one that I hope not to repeat anytime soon.

The two stories contained in this issue were drawn by two different pencilers. I think that the penciled art in the Origin of Starstriker was the more imaginative and anatomically interesting of the two, but I also feel that the penciled work in the Origin of Interceptor yielded better facial expressions and achieved a greater emotional attachment on this reader's part to the character at the center of the story's attention.

More nice lettering!
All things considered, this is not a comic book that I would encourage people to go out and buy, and particularly if you are not already familiar with the Unstoppable Comics universe, already. There's just not enough meat on the bones, to warrant anything resembling a ringing endorsement.

But, I will quantify that comment by saying that I already know, for a first-hand fact, that the level of quality increases noticeably for other Unstoppable Comics material that can readily be found in other issues from this publisher.

Visual scenes like this help to make a positive visual impact on the reader!

The Origin of Starstriker
Publisher: Unstoppable Comics
Writer: Jaydee Rosario
Penciler: Craig Shepard
Inker: Alex Rivera
Colorist: Michael Summers
Letterer: Jaydee Rosario

The Origin of Interceptor

Publisher: Unstoppable Comics
Writer: Jaydee Rosario
Penciler: Rushsaun Wilkerson
Inker: Alex Rivera
Colorist: Michael Summers
Letterer: Jaydee Rosario

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