Brain Boy #1 (Dark Horse)

Brain Boy #1 Cover

Rating: 3.5/5 – A surprise the world’s most powerful psychic never sees coming

Brain Boy, the new miniseries from Dark Horse Comics is a mix of old and new.  The original series from the 1960s lasted six issues and was published by Dell Comics.  Dark Horse selected writer Fred Van Lente to bring the character into the modern day while keeping some of the tone of the original series.

The first re-introduction to Brain Boy occurred in the pages of Dark Horse Presents as a three-part series with Van Lente writing and Freddie Williams penciling the story.  Dark Horse has now given the character his own book, a four issue miniseries with Van Lente at the helm and RB Silva penciling.   Rob Lean is handling the inking with colors by Ego and letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot.  Silva’s art, which some may be familiar with from the fantastic Jimmy Olsen one shot from 2011, is tight and expressive.  His panel layouts and page designs are inventive and a little reminiscent of Kenneth Rocafort to me.  Silva has kept the concentric ring design around Brain Boy’s head that Williams established.  This design not only looks cook on the page but is also a great way to visually show the use of his powers.

Brain Boy is the story of Matt Price, the world’s most powerful telepath who works for Albright Industries (fans of Dark Horse Comics will know this organization as Captain Midnight’s company, putting both characters in the same universe).  Matt has telepathic powers and can levitate, using these unique abilities on behalf of the Secret Service that Albright has subcontracted him to.  In issue #1, the United Nations General Assembly is occurring and there are numerous foreign leaders in New York who the Secret Service is tasked with protecting.  Matt is responsible for the safety of General Emil Ricorta, the president of South America’s largest oil producer.

Ven Lente has penned an interesting story around a character that is easy to hate.   Due to his abilities Matt is young, successful and well off.  He is also brash and snide, Van Lente mentioning in previous interviews that he is a little like House with telepathic powers (referencing the highly intelligent and sarcastic doctor from Fox’s television show).  Even with the world seemingly in the palm of his hand, there are noticeable cracks in Matt’s perfect life.  The subplot of Matt’s true history and what happened to his parents are hinted at by a run-in with a CIA agent.  It does seem a little cliché that Matt’s parents died and he was raised by the same company, Albright Industries, that employs him but I am willing to give the creative team the benefit of the doubt to see where they take it.

Brain Boy #1 was fun to read and certainly different from some of the other books on the shelf.  The creative team has retained some of the quirkiness of the original 60s character but modernized him to appeal to today’s comic book reader.  There is a mysterious past of the main character, espionage involving government agencies and cutting edge technology being used against high level psychic powers.  If those concepts sound interesting, I would give Brain Boy a try.

Reviewed by: Jeff Bouchard – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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