Greetings, I am back again with another comic review of Saving the World # 1 and it’s companion volume Saving the Universe # 1 by Tonic Mole.
Though I really like the creators on these two books I will strive to be fair and not allow my biases cloud my judgment.
Starting with Saving the World you have a stunning front cover by the Illustrator Monk and a fun back cover by Ryan Foust.
Breaking open the comic you are greeted with a black inner cover with some gray images topped by white text of the credits for the issue. An interesting choice.
Next you have the first page with the main character in her hero garb with the city in silhouette and the Saving the World logo.
Tonic has a distinct style and one I enjoy. That said it isn’t for everyone. Sure you could say that for all comic artists but some artists have broader appeal than others. I grew up with indie/underground comics so Tonic’s art is in my wheel house.
Layout of the book is traditional – multiple square or rectangle panels. Each panel is full but not chaotic so easy to read. I am not a fan of empty space on a page and Tonic uses space well.
This issue is basically the origin story and attempts to introduce the two main characters Kiera and Nora. It does a fine job doing that as well as giving a bit of drama and action too boot.
Tonic is not afraid of showing a bit of T & A, something that I really appreciate. He also isn’t afraid to have a curvy female character which seems to becoming verboten in mainstream comics especially Marvel. (*cough, cough – Captain Marvel – cough, cough*)
My main criticism of this book is large blocky thought boxes showing inner monologue.
They could have been drawn smaller with smaller text. They take up unnecessary space in the panels and hide some of the background details.
The same goes with the speech bubbles in some of the early panels. But in general most of the speech bubbles were better sized and placed in the panels.
Overall I really enjoyed Saving the World # 1 and I am looking forward to future issues. The crowdfunding campaigns for Issue two is now active on both IGG and Kickstarter.
Now to Saving the Universe # 1 by Tonic Mole, Tony Sizzle and Peter Palmiotti.
First off are the black and white covers by Tonic Mole. I think the black and white covers were kind of a misstep on Tonic’s part.
I understand that Saving the Universe was initially meant to be a smaller ashcan where the black and white cover fits. But once the decision to make StU a full comic the cover should have been given the color treatment – at least for the back cover.
The front cover is fine but the back cover feels it is missing something and it is color. The cover images are fun but that back cover is just doesn’t pop.
Now let’s break this book open. First thing you get is great use of the inner covers. The front inner cover has the contents page and I like the dynamics of it. A definite improvement compared to the StW front inner cover content page.
Saving the Universe is an anthology with three stories focusing on three characters that share the same universe with Kiera and Nora.
Tonic has been clear that he wants to introduce several characters thus creating a vibrant shared universe.
First off you got Gypsy written by Tonic and illustrated by Tony Sizzle. Of the three stories this one I was looking forward to the most, as I really enjoyed Tony’s previous work.
Though I did enjoy this story well enough I have some issues with it. One is the empty horizons, the art seems to lead to a white void. And the last panel on page three feels unfinished. It is like the figures and car are floating on a white void untethered by reality.
In panel one on page three the main character is posed in a way that makes you feel she should be falling over.
Tony can illustrate backgrounds like nobodies business. The dude has talent. His characters need work but Tony has potential.
Another quibble is the choice of bad guy on pages six and seven – a Nazi Skinhead. Lazy.
As an ex-White Power Skinhead and now reformed bohemian misfit, the idea of yet another Nazi attempting to kill some lone white woman apparently by random just feels lazy.
Overall the story is fine but could have been polished a bit more and the unnecessary “Nazi” bad guy trope could have been missed.
I have zero problem with Nazis as bad guys, in fact I like Fascists as bad guys and a few comic ideas I have have them. But in this case it seemed unnecessary.
Next up is Lilly & Wepwawet by Tonic Mole himself.
This story is brief and introduces two characters to the universe and I really enjoyed it. Though there isn’t any background details in the panels they don’t look like empty white voids.
Tonic knows how to fill space in a way that gives a feeling of volume even with negative space. This shines in this story.
Lilly is gorgeous. And I really hope to see more of her in the future as well as Wepwawt. The interchange between both characters was well written and drawn. Kudos Tonic.
Now onto the last of the three stories in this anthology. Stratus written by Tonic Mole and illustrated by Peter Palmiotti.
This story is laid out in a conventional way and is the most traditional looking “superhero” of the stories in the anthology.
The art by Peter is chaotic. It looks like Peter is still trying to figure out his style. In one panel one of the characters looks like a poor manga drawing whereas in a following panel the same character is drawn in a more western style.
I think Peter needs to figure out if he wants to do a more traditional Western superhero style or a more humorous cartoony style. The the shifting back and forth is at times off putting.
Peter has talent but needs to find a style that he can stick with throughout a story.
Some of his art reminded me of early Timothy Vigil’s art (not a bad thing in my book) and at times a cartoony artist from an Aicel Comics book I read a backup story by.
Peter could pull off both independently depending upon the needs of a book/story but when both styles mix they are jarring.
The story as written is fine and overall Saving the Universe # 1 was a fine read. A bit chaotic but full of potential.
Of the three stories the second one “Lilly & Wepwawet” was the stand out tale for me. Both these characters just beg for future stories and I will be looking forward to them.
Well this is all for this review. I will post my next review in a few days. Take care and fin.