head head head
Home Contact RSS Feed
Comic Review: Abyss #2
NeverWanderer   |  

Red 5 Comics - Abyss #2Abyss #2
Written by Kevin Rubio
Pencils and Cover by Lucas Marangon
Inks by Nick Schley
Colors by Andrew Dalhouse
Letters by Troy Peteri
Red 5 Comics
Cover price: $2.95; Available now

The first time I saw the advertisement for Red 5‘s new series, Abyss, it hit me with one of the more interesting sells I’ve seen. It touted itself as the first comic book to begin its story *after* the death of the title character. The picture in the ad was a riff on the classic Death of Superman image, with Abyss’s cape in tatters, fluttering from a makeshift flagpole while characters in super-suits stood in the background with their heads bowed.

Color me intrigued! Aside from Atomic Robo, this was the Red 5 comic I was most looking forward to reading, just based on that ad alone. When I finally picked up the first issue, I was surprised and more than a little disappointed at what the series was actually about. I was expecting, to be honest, a story similar to Watchmen. Mind you, I wasn’t expecting *Watchmen* (no one ever does), but I was expecting an intriguing look at the past life of a fallen hero, maybe a bit of mystery and revelation thrown in.

That is most definitely not what this series is about. What it is is something simpler, that focuses more on fun and laughs than drama and mystery. Not what I expected, but neither is it exactly a failure.

The first issue did a decent job of setting up the main premise of the series: A young man named Eric returns home to bury his estranged father, only to learn that his father not only faked his own death, but is, in fact, the Abyss, the world’s greatest super villain. Learning of his father’s “final” nefarious plot, Eric dons the Abyss suit and sets out to undo the old man’s wrongs.

Cue the laughs.

Issue two picks up where one left off…

(…as… most comic books are known to do…)

(…if I ever start a recap like that again, someone please smack me…)

Having come face to face with his father’s arch-nemesis, the Arrow, Eric must stay alive while trying to convince the hero that he is not the real Abyss. This sequence is intercut with a series of flashbacks in which Abyss Sr. reveals, to several mysterious figures (but not to the audience), the details of his master scheme.

Now, right there, we run into one of my biggest problems with this issue: The management of space and story. The fight (if it can really be called that) between Eric and the Arrow lasts until halfway through the issue, at which point, another quarter of the issue is spent in the aftermath of the fight, with Eric explaining his plight. That’s three quarters of the issue gone, and nothing really new or interesting has happened yet. Sure, the fight scene is entertaining enough, but with the flashback scenes constantly interrupting it, it just can’t maintain a consistent pace. Add to that the fact that the flashbacks themselves are not NEARLY informative enough to justify the amount of page space they occupy, and you’ve got a book that doesn’t really kick into gear until the last five pages.

That’s a serious pacing problem. And when I look back to see what it was that wasted so much time, the sad fact is that it was the jokes. The fight scene is full of half-hearted slapstick, and each scene of dialogue is treated like a little comedy sketch. The sad thing is that only a few of the jokes are actually funny, the rest dwelling somewhere in the realm of “cute.” If I was laughing all throughout the issue, I’m sure I wouldn’t have noticed — or at least would have forgiven — the pacing problems. As it stands, though, these problems do more to overwhelm and distract from the moments where the book is legitimately funny and interesting. So, by the time the issue ends, I’m *kind* of interested in what will happen next, but I’m feeling more disappointment than satisfaction.

I want more story! I would gladly sacrifice the mediocre jokes to amplify the truly funny ones and, more importantly, fit more story into the issue!

Now, to be fair to the writer (TROOPS creator Kevin Rubio), I want more story because the story he’s telling *is* interesting! Eric is a likable character; sort of an amalgamation of Scott Evil and Billy Crudup’s character from Big Fish. His tale is a fresh take on a classic concept and the world he lives in is intriguing enough to make me want to learn more. It occurs to me that there is a lot of experimentation going on in the way he tells the story. Both in this issue and in the first issue, he incorporates different narrative devices to tell the story. In the first issue, the experiment worked. Here, not so much. But the effort tells me that Rubio is striving for something special, and who knows? Maybe in the next issue, he’ll achieve it. Then the only obstacle he’ll need to overcome is his devotion to forcing jokes where none are really needed.

The art chores are handled by Lucas Marangon, whose American-Manga style perfectly captures the tone of the book. Cartoony enough to serve the comedy, kinetic enough to handle the action. My only criticism for him would be that at times, the characters’ facial expressions are too stiff. It will often seem like he’s not sure what to do with their faces during the more mundane interactions. The wide-eyed stuff he does well, but once everyone calms down, they come off either too extreme for the situation or just plain lifeless. (The one exception to this is Raifer, Eric’s father, who emotes the perfect mix of sinister humor and laid-back arrogance in every scene.)

As it stands, Abyss is an entertaining little comic that shows great potential, both in terms of the talent involved and the story itself. If Rubio manages to reign back on the forced humor, and lets the story find its rhythm and its comedic beats naturally, it could make for one of the surprise gems of the new year. For the moment, though, I can really only recommend it if you’re not getting enough of the action-comedy formula in the far superior Atomic Robo.

Flawed but fun, I give Abyss #2 a hopeful B.

1 Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Previous Article
Next Article
You may have noticed that we're now AD FREE! Please support Geeks of Doom by using the Amazon Affiliate link above. All of our proceeds from the program go toward maintaining this site.
Geeks of Doom on Twitter Geeks of Doom on Facebook Geeks of Doom on Instagram Follow Geeks of Doom on Tumblr Geeks of Doom on YouTube Geeks of Doom Email Digest Geeks of Doom RSS Feed
The Drill Down Podcast TARDISblend Podcast Westworld Podcast
2023  ·   2022  ·   2021  ·   2020  ·   2019  ·   2018  ·   2017  ·   2016  ·   2015  ·   2014  ·  
2013  ·   2012  ·   2011  ·   2010  ·   2009  ·   2008  ·   2007  ·   2006  ·   2005
Geeks of Doom is proudly powered by WordPress.

Students of the Unusual™ comic cover used with permission of 3BoysProductions
The Mercuri Bros.™ comic cover used with permission of Prodigal Son Press

Geeks of Doom is designed and maintained by our geeky webmaster
All original content copyright ©2005-2023 Geeks of Doom
All external content copyright of its respective owner, except where noted
Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
About | Privacy Policy | Contact