Rating: 4/5 – There’s a funny side to the Apocalypse.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Lawrence Arboleda.
The Adventures of Apocalypse Al #1 is J. Michael Straczynski’s first new release of the year from his Joe’s Comics line. This time he ventures into the realm of noir comedy. It’s also equal parts supernatural thriller, urban fantasy and apocalyptic fiction, something that feels like the comic book equivalent of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files but with a type of humor that is more unbridled. This issue is the first part of a 4-issue mini-series. It had me laughing rather a lot.
The title’s plot goes like this: Alison Carter is a private investigator specializing in – of all things – the end of the world. As the current descendant of a long line of apocalyptic investigators, Alison’s beat always has her dealing with monsters, demons, zombies, obese giants/world eaters, among many other oddballs. In this first issue, Alison gets a visit from a zombie friend who fills her in on a case that would require her special talents. This case involves a man who has his hands on an item called “The Book of Keys” and is using it to open the doorway to hell. Alison, with her usual sass and sardonic humor, charges into her mission and consequently finds herself coming into conflict with someone who prefers to be addressed as “Ultimate…. Darkness.” (note the pausing for effect thing… you’ll get it once you’ve read it).
The thing that stands out the most about this comic is the profusion of wit and humor. This is rather impressive in light of the fact that J. Michael Straczynski hasn’t forayed much into comedy for much of his career. Alison is smart, witty, and sharp-tongued. She investigates her way through the darker side of LA, which is a place steeped in fantastical elements and zany-weird characters. Interestingly enough, her internal monologues are a slight contrast to all that, showing us that underneath the cheeky veneer is a woman who takes her job very seriously. Alison is funny, yes, but she exudes an earnestness that readers will find charming.
My main quibble with this issue, or the title’s whole premise for that matter, is that it reeks of familiar territory. We’ve seen these types of stories before, and it doesn’t look like that this title’s going to break any storytelling conventions any time soon. But maybe I’m speaking too soon; this is just the first issue, after all.
I find Sid Kotian’s art to be very good all around. His style has a slightly stylized and energetic look that complements the comic’s weird and lively vibe. He has a fine sense of cinematic progression and uses a wide variety of angles in his panels that you can’t help but feel immersed by his storytelling.
If you’re looking for a title that will make you laugh, The Adventures of Apocalypse Al #1 is definitely worth your attention. The fantasy/supernatural elements, coupled with the madcap humor, makes this a very entertaining read. This is yet another solid addition to J. Michael Straczynski’s Joe Comics line.
Reviewed by: Lawrence Arboleda
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