Rating: 3/5 – Reading Badger Again for the First Time.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Back in the mid 1980s I remember seeing Badger comics on the shelf. I was always a fan of his overall look, including his strong costume design. Creator Mike Baron was publishing the book through First Comics and although the design of the character appealed to me, it wasn’t enough to spend my then limited dollars. Since the series ended with First Comic’s bankruptcy in the early 1990s, there have been one-shots and mini series from Dark Horse, Image and IDW. Sadly, I also passed on all of those, but when Devil’s Due and 1First Comics announced an all new Badger series, I wasn’t going to miss it again.
Badger is a complicated character. He has multiple personalities, but can also talk to animals? Looking at Badger comics when I was younger, I assumed him to be a Wolverine knock-off, but he’s not that at all. This first issue of Badger takes us through Norbert Sykes’ recruiting into the army, his capture by what looks to be a Taliban-like army, and his escape and re-entry into society. The Mike Baron’s writing does a solid job of giving us Badger’s adult origin, but to say the pacing is quick would be an understatement.
I appreciate that the origin wasn’t drawn out, but because the pacing is so fast, the storytelling seemed rushed and chaotic. There’s little explanation as to why the Badger does what he does and although we may see those motivations in later issues, here it came off as a race to the finish. It also didn’t help that Baron chose not to use any caption boxes until the very end to explain the timelines or locations. I’m left wondering how he has multiple personalities, how he can talk to animals, and just why he’s doing what he’s doing. The art by Jim Fern told the story well, but has some inconsistencies in details throughout. He’s solid with his facial expressions, but clothing, cars and buildings looked a bit off to me. The clothing, for example, looks stiff and doesn’t always look as though it’s laying correctly on the character.
After all these years, I was glad to have finally read about a character I’ve always had a fondness for from afar. In the next issue preview, it’s listed that Tony Akins, whose work I love, will be penciling the next installment. That may bring me back for at least one more issue, but after that second chance we’ll have to see. I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with this since the writing failed to connect with me in this debut issue.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture