A1 #1 (Titan Comics)

A1 #1 Weirding Willows cover

Rating: 4/5 – Anthology with some very bright spots

A1 is something that’s almost always a bit tricky for me, an anthology book.   The problem I often have with an anthology is also the greatest strength of the format, you get a variety of stories by different creative teams that is sometimes a mixed bag as it maps to the personal tastes of any reader.  The other challenge is that the format tend to give you smaller chunks of story in each issue and it’s sometimes difficult to get into the story in 10 pages per month.

Here we get 3 stories: The Weirding Willows written by Dave Elliott with art by Barnaby Bagenda; Carpe Diem written by W.H. Rauf with art by Rhoald Marcelius; and Odyssey written by Dave Elliott with art by Garrie Gastonny.

Let’s examine these one at a time.  In The Weirding Willows we’re introduced to Doctor Moreau & his daughter Alice in 19th century England.  Alice seems to wander around in what would hardly be an appropriate manner of dress for 19th century England for most of the 1st installment, but there appears to be some possibility of time and/or dimensional travel as the story progresses so maybe we’ll see how this fits in.  There are some very pointed references to characters pulled from the writings of Lewis Carroll, Beatrix Potter, Rudyard Kipling, HG Wells, L. Frank Baum and others so this story has some wild potential.  Bagenda’s art is wonderful and a good match to the otherworldly nature of the story.   I’d give this one a 4/5.

In Carpe Diem we’re introduced to a very eclectic team made up of Sir Monday – Super Spy, Sir Tuesday – The Hooligan, Sir Wednesday – The Muscle, Sir Thursday – The Shaman, Sir Friday – The Assassin, Lady Saturday – The Sharpshooter, Sir Sunday – The Guardian, and Sir 8th Day – The Big Boss.  It’s a fast-paced comedic story but it didn’t totally click with me in 10 pages, partly the number of characters thrown at us in 10 pages, partly the art.  This could grow on me as I read more stories.  This one gets a 3/5.

Finally we get Odyssey, set in WWII 1942.  It starts off with what looks like it could become a standard Captain America riff but quickly takes a left turn into uncharted territory.  This 10-page chapter is set-up but really raises some fascinating questions about exactly what’s going on and has me aching to see what happens next.  Combine that with art that’s really in my “sweet spot” and I’ll be back for issue #2 on the strength of this story alone.  This gets a 4.5/5.

For an anthology with 3 stories I was doing pretty good with this issue, two stories I really liked and one that I think can grow on me over time.   The art was matched with the tone/content of the stories in all 3 cases, and the stories were all very different from one another and all had some really unique story hooks that were new to me.  This adds up to a book where I’m definitely looking forward to issue #2.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – bob@comicspectrum.com
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