Monday, May 21, 2007

Range Loners

From time to time there comes a series that surprises me. While I like to see myself as the big guru of comicdom I am not omniscent. There are often series that at a first glance seem to be your run - of - the - mill - generic series like you have read a hundred times. But when you finally get a chance to check it out you realize it´s the next INVINCIBLE. And more often than not the series is over before it has reached it´s potential like Dan Slott´s THING.

Case in point : THE LONERS from Marvel comics. In all the buzz about CIVIL WAR, CIVIL WAR FRONTLINE, THE INITIATIVE or MIGHTY AVENGERS there are dozens of new series coming out. Some sound very interesting, some not. Especially a six - issue miniseries about six former super heroes / heroines who have formed a support group. With all the trouble of Civil War and the fallout these people decide to hang up their tights for good.

No big deal I thought so I didn´t put it on my pull list. Nevertheless I read the first issue my brother bought ( asking him why in hell he had ordered it - the shame ! ) and was totally hooked after the first pages that totally surprised me . You think you know what is going to happen but what really happens is the total opposite. C. B. Cebulski manages to write a captivating story about six heroes whose lives have not only benefitted from their superhero live. The main characters are Johnny Gallo ( formerly Ricochet from Slingers ), Julie Power ( Lightspeed from Power Pack ), Mickey Musashi ( Turbo from New Warriors ), Phil Urich ( Green Goblin - the good one ), Mattie Franklin ( Spider - Woman from the John Byrne / Bart Sears series ) and Chris Powell ( Darkhawk )and while other writers would shy away from using the continuity Mr. Cebulski manages to use it without letting it bog down the story.

He uses the characters rich history as a foundation for the story but he also provides information for all Marvel newbies. Everything you need to know about the characters past is told in the first story through a group therapy session. Now while I´m not a big fan of these ( one of the reasons I didn´t pick up the series ) it works perfectly as a storytelling device. The last thing I want to say about the story is that at the end of the first issue some of the former heroes learn that it is not so easy to give up the hero live. Confronted with new information about criminal activities that have ties to their past they have to make a tough decision : what´s more important - their reasons ot quit or their obligation to stop crime ? Oh, and in the second issue Ricochet is spotlighted in a big way. In fact C. B. Cebulski writes all six third - tiers as interesting as the big guns. And that´s one of the things that appeal to me.

The art is done by Karl Moline who worked on such wonderful series like FRAY ( a MUST for every Buffy fan or any fan of horror comics ) or ROUTE 666 from CROSSGEN ( also for any fan of horror comics ) and who also is doing his own inks. At first it looked kind of rough to me but it´s beginning to grow on me.

Good story, good art and covers by Jason Pearson - what more can you ask for ? So next time you´re at the comic shop to buy the next megacrossover tie - ins or the dozens of new series you might want to check out this series. You might discover a gem you would have overlooked. I´m sure am glad I gave the book a might be too.

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    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    I loved this mini-series, it's a shame to hear that Cebulski had initially planned for it to go on for, much much longer, but that clearly never panned out due to sales.