Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.
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Reaching its midway point, our contributor Darryll Robson takes a look at the third issue of Lucas Stand from Boom! Studios.
Lost in time, the titular character from Lucas Stand has to face his own demons as well as actual Demons in situations which would push the strongest heroes to their edge. But can Lucas hold himself together?
Can the creators of Lucas Stand keep the narrative contained in such a high concept comic?
By the midway point, things are looking a little shakey.
Review: Lucas Stand #3
This issue starts with Lucas at the end of a rope. After fighting demons in the Second World War, the undead time traveller is flung further back in time to the old west. In the body of a man called Jeremaih, Lucas is being used as bait to catch a much larger menace; the leader of the Duncan Gang.
Teaming up with a Comanche Bounty hunter, who is all too ready to accept Lucas' hunter position, the mismatched pair attempt to track down an errant demon within the confines of the wooden slated old town.
An unfortunate incident in a brothel leaves Lucas disoriented and weakened which allows the demon, in the body of the town Doctor, to get up close and personal. The Doctor/Demon insists he just wants to help the people of the town and to prove the point he helps Lucas with his addiction problem. However, not everything is as it seems and before long Lucas needs rescuing again.
The positives. This issue has an intriguing start with a difficult situation for the central character and a new feel to the illustration. Jesus Hervas captures the old west beautifully in the opening pages and, with the help of colorist Adam Metcalfe, paints a violent, dusky world that promises nothing but hardship and pain. The blood red moon casts an eerie glow over the scene as the Duncan Gang ride into town. There is energy and violence within the panels and the lettering on the sound effects for the gun shots vibrate from the pages.
Unfortunately, these images are hampered with a mostly unnecessary voice over with some of the caption boxes disrupting the energy of the panels.Â And this doesn't end after the opening, the constant internal monologue drones throughout the issue despite the vast amount of speech, especially from Lucas. The upshot is that it becomes very word heavy without extending understanding or narrative.
The problem with over writing appears to rest entirely with the speech sections of the script however because other parts of the narrative lack cohesion or explanation. It's not an easy story to follow and moments within it stand out for the wrong reasons. For example, after he escapes from the hang man's noose, Lucas steals himself a gun and suddenly shoots at a man on horseback. Now the man could have been reaching for a gun, trying to escape or one of a number of other possibilities but it isn't made very clear. That single panel makes Lucas look cruel and jumpy and very unreliable.
Possibly the problem comes down to the fact that Lucas isn't a very likable character. Kurt Sutter and Caitlin Kittredge have been crafting a redemption story line for their titular character and this has in previous issues worked out well. However, in this issue it begins to grate on the reader. Lucas isn't even a lovable rogue, he's just unlikable. This makes it difficult to skip over dubious elements of the narrative especially when Lucas ends up in the barn; these scenes are baffling.
And what was the point of returning to the present before embarking on the next mission?
These panels seemed out of place, thrust into the narrative to fill a couple of half pages. Maybe this will have some greater significance but right here, in this section of the comic, itÂ did nothing except drag the reader out of the narrative.
This comic still has those elements that I enjoyed from issue one and two, the Quantum Leap meets Hellblazer vibe, it is just let down by the central characterization. ClichÃ©s take over and the plot gets lost. At some points it may even make you think of the Doctor Who episode A Town Called MercyÂ but that probably isn't a good thing.
The next issue promises even more clichÃ©s but has the potential for an interesting story twist. I had hoped for a better quality comic by the midway point but hopefully this is just the lull before the resurgence of the brilliance that shone through issue #1.
Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse.Â Occasionally he might use his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson
Source: Boom Studios
A disappointing entry into the miniseries. However this series still has a spark and does enough to bring the reader back for issue #4.