Written by Jose Loeri
Art by Mats Engesten
Coloring, Lettering and Layouts by Atlantis Studios
Crucial Crisis Comix
Cover price: $2.95; Available now
What do you call it when one man takes on an entire regiment of armed soldiers to escape from a government prison and then makes his way to Mexico and then gets a bar blown up while fighting his way through two other former teammates who have been artificially enhanced? I call it Intrepid.
In “Preamble”, the first of the 7-issue “Heroes and Villains” arc of Intrepid, we meet Joseph Paxton. Intrepid is the only way to describe him. A man who seems willing to take on anybody and anything to rescue a friend and former underling. A man with amazing powers himself. But he may also have memory implants, so we cannot trust anything that he remembers.
Please be forewarned: no part of the production values of Intrepid comes even close to professional levels. The studio that claims responsibility for the coloring, lettering, and layouts and the editors better get together and have a little powwow. There are spelling and grammatical errors in the introduction and there are even inconsistencies in the way they represent profanities in the lettering which actually causes some dialogue to be a little confusing. There are way too many phrases in quotes. If these people were really speaking, they would be flexing their fore and middle fingers of both hands in every sentence. The coloring is flat because they use all the same tones in the same scenes. But to be fair, Mats Engesten does not give them much to work with. His use of perspective is way off and his characters hardly resemble themselves from panel to panel. The inking seems to be used to cover up the artwork instead of enhance it.
BUT, the creative team does have its moments. I think the splash on the last page of issue #2 looks pretty good. The layout, perspective, illustration, inking, and coloring come together to make a great end shot. I hope this is a sign of improvement which they better do a lot of over the next five issues of the “Heroes and Villains” arc.
There are some very enjoyable story elements. When security comes to remove Intrepid, he is able to come out of his artificially induced coma and make all the guards delirious. Then there is not one but two break away scenes. One showing “The Store” where people are manufactured into paranormals, seemingly in the most gruesome way possible and another that introduces a very interesting character and her father. She is super intelligent, super powerful but with a bit of whimsy judging by the zombie nazis she creates to fight, not to mention her retro World War I soldier tags. We then zip back to Intrepid kicking butt back at the prison. The break was unexpected but it worked. I liked getting dumped back into the scene which was already in progress.
In issue two, “La Balada De Santos Caidos,” Intrepid makes his way to Mexico to acquire some aid for his mission. There are a few scenes in which Spanish is spoken and not translated. I think this is a very bold move on the creator’s part. At risk is the readers’ comprehension of their comic. After reading a few panels in Spanish, it is easily understood what transpired from following the next few in English. I got a nice little thrill thinking I could follow the story in another language. Jose Loeri shows that he knows how to tell a story regardless of language. At the end of issue two there is a whole scene that is in Spanish and not translated at all, yet I understood everything that was going on. Do I owe that to Loeri and Engesten’s visual storytelling ability, the fact that I’ve witnessed this scene in comics many times before or from the two years of Spanish I took in high school? There, I just can’t tell.
Joseph Paxton, the definition of Intrepid. Willing to take on the world for a friend. And he has the power to do it. I’m afraid I won’t be that intrepid to read the rest of his series unless the production values go way up.
Digital download available from IK Comics for $1.00.