Every so often, folks send me an email asking if I’ll take a look at and review their comics. For a long time, I had no time to do so, but a couple of recent requests piqued my interest and so I’m going to do a couple of these indie reviews before I dig into this week’s tantalizing pile of The New 52, sitting since yesterday afternoon on my desk.
I have here the first two issues of Diamondback, published by Colorado-based Anasazi Comics, each $3.99 for 24 pages in color. Written by Jeremy Lee, who created the series with Michael Andereck, Diamondback is set in an “anarcho-capitalist” future in which all government has collapsed and the only justice you can get is what you pay for. In the massive Denver City, a man named Jack Cody’s wife is killed in a gangland gunfight. Lacking legal insurance, his child is taken from him and Jack is sent to prison, where he makes socks and his soul dies. He’s pulled out after a year by a an agent named Cowboy, who believes Jack also can be an agent for the Carroll-Dodgson company and begins training him. Jack takes on the name and identity of Diamondback, and he and Cowboy immediately clash with the big boys of the agency game at Dyja International, which forms the spine of the first two issues.
There are some interesting tidbits in here and I think this could be developed into something that works as a story and would be quite interesting as an action tale with some social commentary in it. The execution leaves something to be desired, even though it makes up for its many technical flaws with sheer enthusiasm. I wish the script had an editor who could make sure that the concepts in the book were clearly explained.
Frankly, if you want to nitpick this, there’s a lot to pick on. But the ideas and characters somehow still came through to me, despite things not being terribly well explained or introduced the way we’re used to.
The artwork by Nick Bove has many of the same issues. If you want to, you can critique it to death for problems with perspective, anatomy, clarity, etc., but the story still gets through. The designs of the future city in particular offer some interesting glimpses of what this world could be. The biggest problem with the art is it’s just not delivering much to convey this world and these characters as physical things — as it is, the images are flat and two-dimensional, though there is some improvement already evident in the second issue.
I don’t know that I can really recommend this to anyone as a great reading experience. It’s kind of a throwback to the kind of stuff that flooded the market in the various small-press boom times. But it does have tons of enthusiasm, and I like that comics is a medium where these things can see the light of day and have a shot at not just developing an audience, but at getting better.
This book is not yet available through Diamond, so if you want to check it out for yourselves, head on over to www.diamondbackcomic.com, www.anasazicomics.com or to Facebook and ask them how you can get a copy.