Indiana Jones Omnibus
Written by William Messner-Loebs,
Dan Barry, Lee Marrs
Art by Dan Barry, Leo Duranona,
Karl Kesel, Andy Mushynsky
Release date: Feb 06, 2008
Licensed comics have got to be one of the hardest things to do well, but people seem to like them as there’s always been a bevy of books based on popular shows and movies as long as comics have been around. Me personally, I can usually do without them. Either the artist does a poor job with the likeness of the characters, or the writer can’t get the feel of the source material right. Fortunately, this Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol. 1 doesn’t fall into the pitfalls common with bad books based on movies, at least for the first two-thirds. In fact, this felt like just another movie starring everyone’s favorite globe-trotting archeologist.
There are three out-of-print miniseries collected here, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Thunder in the Orient, and Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold. The first two are must-reads for Indy fans, while the third really disappointed me, especially in relation to the first two. The plots for all three are pretty much what you’d expect for an Indiana Jones story; Indy learns about a fabled treasure, gets mixed up with some dizzy dame, fights the locals, and in the end saves the world while losing the treasure. There’s nothing fancy about the story, and they really tie into the classic pulp fiction origin of the whole Indiana Jones mythos. The problem I had with the third story is that where the first two move quickly and keep the feel of the movies, the third story is slow, a bit hard to follow, and just doesn’t feel like the movies. It doesn’t really feel like much of anything at all.
The art also adds to the problem I had with Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold. I’ll go into the good first though. Dan Barry handles the art for the first two stories. He’s got a classic style that makes the book look like an old adventure comic strip. His Indy captures the look and feel of the character without being a slave to Harrison Ford’s likeness. The colors are nice and bright and the stories easy to follow. The art really worked to get me in the mood of the story. The art on the third story, done by Leo Duranona, is overly sketchy, lacking in details, and hard to follow. The colors are mostly gray and subdued and just make the story more boring than it probably is. The art is bad enough to make reading the story a bit of a chore. It made me sad to see it because I got so much enjoyment out of the first two-thirds of the book, and just could not get into the last chunk.
The nice thing about these Omnibus Editions that Dark Horse is putting out on a regular basis is the amount of story you get and the high production value. In this volume you get 16 issues in full color on some very nice paper. The dimensions on the book make for very comfortable reading, which from personal experience can get a bit dicey when you have more than 12 issues in a collection. I’ve gotten three of the Dark Horse Omnibus’ so far, and I’ve enjoyed all of them. My only complaint with the collection is that you only get one of the covers for each story, and I would have liked to see all the original covers, as they usually have nice painted work on them. But that’s mostly a nit-pick, and not a deal breaker for me.
So if you enjoy the movie this weekend and end up looking for more Indy action, or if you hate the movie and end up looking for something to wash the bad taste out of your mouth, fans of the Indiana Jones universe will find a good reason to pick this up, if they haven’t already.