1.5 / 5 – Would only advise purchase if you are already a fan of the property or the Atlanta Falcons/Matt Ryan/Roddy White
I have been very impressed with all the previous books I’ve read from indy publisher Action Labs and also enjoy watching the NFL so when I spied this in the shop it seemed a natural selection for me. At the time, I was unaware it was originally a cartoon TV show. This issue is an anthology regarding a young man named Ish Taylor and the Guardians against a villain named Sudden Death, a Doctor Doom type complete with cloak and metallic armor, set on destroying the world as we know it via stealing each NFL’s team shard to re-create a powerful weapon.
The opening two page story sets out the details above, with little additional background. The second and largest story involves a football fan who has his TV remote control transformed into a device that grants him certain specific powers (the ability to rewind a football game and change the outcome of a play) and non-specific powers. Ish Taylor and his friend Ash (first named 4 pages after her initial appearance) transform to Guardians to defeat this evil. Upon transformation into Guardians, I could not tell which character was Ish or Ash except there is a different helmet designation but it is not always included in the art and if the figures are together, you can sometimes tell he is slightly larger. This summary involves some conjecture on my behalf as the narrative leaves certain details omitted (for example the entity named Wildcard, unsure if allied with Sudden Death, gave the powers through an entity named Drop Kick. Drop Kick never appears and Wildcard has only one panel at the end of the story for his appearance. Their dialogue is only in colored panels without any indication of who or where they are. They refer to the fan as a mimic blitz bot but he calls himself the Game Changer). It feels as if parts are missing from the story. The art in this section (Jerry Gaylord & Flash Turner with colors by Bill Blankenship) effectively communicates the action and I enjoy the cartoony exaggeration style. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Roddy White do make an appearance in this story and on the cover. The third and final story is where Ish and Ash recount a past adventure in the briefest of possible ways and they re-establish their friendship via an exchange of inspirational quotes.
Thanks to the magic of the internet, I learned there is a cartoon of this property on Nicktoons which may explain all the missing problems. However I clearly don’t watch the cartoon and feel that the comic should stand on its own without requiring prior knowledge. The Wikipedia entry for the show does elaborate on at least one confusion regarding a reference to a character “OT” in the final story who is the same character as “RZ” in the second story (I think).
I am unsure who the target audience is for this book outside of fans of the cartoon or extreme fans of the Atlanta Falcons. If that is not you, I would advise you pick-up the excellent Princeless book by Action Labs, an all ages adventure that always delivers.
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