It’s time for another review!
This week, I’m reviewing Hit: 1957 #1, from Boom! Comics. Written by Bryce Carlson, with art by Vanessa Del Rey, and colors by Niko Guardia, this book was lettered by Ed Dukeshire, and edited by Eric Harburn.
Like I’ve been saying the past few weeks, my recommendations are based on Prince songs…because I love the man’s music. Adore is simply that—I adored this comic, and you should go buy it right now. Beautiful Strange means you can take it or leave it, and When Doves Cry means you shouldn’t buy the book. Pretty simple.
Let’s get to it!
Since this is the first issue, it does what most modern first issues do: it’s basically all setup. A child is missing, but I don’t see what bearing this has on the story. A sexy woman is found in San Clemente and then dragged to Las Vegas by some thugs, in order to meet a criminal bigwig. There are good cops doing bad things, because it’s the 50s and everyone does bad things. It’s easier. One cop shoots someone accidentally, and then internal investigations gets in on the action, and another cop is looking for the sexy woman who should have been in San Diego.
The story feels somewhat disjointed, but I’m thinking that’s what Carlson wanted. It isn’t a bad thing. There’s just enough going on to make you wonder how it’s all connected, and while there isn’t any fat here, I think the story could have been tightened up a little in order to give the reader more. More of a reason to come back. That’s the editor’s job, and we’ll talk about that more a little later.
Vanessa Del Rey. Very, very strong talent on this woman. I like it. A lot of times, female artists will draw things “softly”, especially the men. A lot of times, when female comic artists draw men, they look effeminate. Not Del Rey’s characters, though, and I’m very appreciative of that.
I do have to say, though, that while the first couple of pages are phenomenal, the rest of the book lacks detail in character faces. The only one who really has a face is the sexy woman, Bonnie. The rest of the cast have the suggestions of a face, but there really isn’t one. This leaves the reader stuck with characters who could be anyone facially, and are only able to tell the characters apart by mode of dress and hair color. Not good.
The coloring is great. Moody, as it needs to be, and very complimentary of the art. This is a great thing—things are very sharp in the first few pages when Del Rey wants to show detail, and then it washes out to tonality and mood when the rest of the book gets scratchy and semi-indistinct. Very good use of color here. Kudos to Guardia.
The lettering of Ed Dukeshire needed a little more direction. I lay blame here three ways: on Dukeshire, on Del Ray, and on the editor, Eric Harburn. Some of the word balloons are placed badly, which means Vanessa didn’t take the dialogue into account as much as she should have when laying out the pages. There was one case where the words in a balloon were at a totally different font size than the balloons around it, and it was extremely noticeable. There was a lot of text, though, and the captions had a distinctive shape to them. Dukeshire knows his stuff, he just could have used some help from Del Rey and Harburn.
Speaking of Eric Harburn…honestly, I think he could have done a better job editing this book. Carlson needs some direction both in the story and the dialogue. There were a lot of places where the dialogue would have been better with a few commas (what I call a “comma-fail”), and he could have helped Carlson tell the story a little better overall. Connect the dots a bit more. He also could have helped Dukeshire with the placement of some of the balloons and captions, and the balloon with the different font size should not have been missed. That’s what he’s there for. That’s his job. It wasn’t done to the best of his ability—or if it was, then he should be an associate editor, and have another editor over him to catch this stuff.
While this book was well done, there’s just too many problems overall for me to give it a very high score. It’s really at a crossroads, but I don’t like to do half-measures, which is why I only have three basic grades. This one’s score could be higher, but it definitely shouldn’t be lower.
Final verdict: Beautiful Strange