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.
MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB
Skybourne is a new comic title from Boom! Studios written and drawn by Frank Cho. It is released this week and our reviewer, Darryll Robson, gives it the once over.
Review: Skybourne #1
Frank Cho is a popular cover artist who has also illustrated such titles as X-Men, Hulk and the Mighty Avengers. In his time, he has courted some controversy and also become known for his precise art style and buxom female characters. Skybourne is created, written and illustrated by Cho and is the first issue in a miniseries released this week from Boom! Studios.
The children of the biblical Lazarus have super strength, are impervious to harm and are immortal. The three siblings are set to make their mark on the modern world but not necessarily in the way that you might expect.
Frank Cho’s story opens 29 years ago over China where Thomas literally comes crashing down to Earth. Witnessed by some local farmers, Thomas seems more surprised than they are that he survives his fall.
With the prologue over the setting shifts to modern day Istanbul where the story focuses on Grace. She is in the middle of a dubious transaction where she is representing her employer, the Mountain Top Foundation. Their purchasing of a specialist item from a less than honest business man called Ahmed have forced them to send in Grace to retrieve the item, by any means necessary.
At first she is firm but fair however this quickly dissolves into excessive violence and Ahmed barely has time to regret his decision. Once the item is firmly in her hands, Grace heads for home but her journey is cut short by a magical monk-like character who is as determined as Grace to get his hands on the ‘item’.
As an opening Skybourne doesn’t lack for action. The prologue has a man falling to Earth with no apparent injuries in a beautifully illustrated scene almost devoid of speech. The three extending panels on the first page stretch out to give the impression of falling and they create a real sense of vertigo. From page one Cho draws the reader in by impressing them with his visual storytelling. This smart use of the panels is carried over onto the second page where one of the Chinese farmers watches the falling figure. There are three panels on the left of the page which depict the man staring at different heights while on the right a single panel indicates where Thomas has fallen. The readers vision is drawn slowly down the right panel as they follow the old man in the left hand panels. The gutter down the vertical of the page and the three separate panels of the old man help to illustrate the rate at which Thomas falls. The final ‘Thoom’ sound affect adds the final emphasis to the immortal mans’ decent.
The prologue has a very meticulous and deliberate pace that is created by very clever illustration and layout. If you’re not hooked within these first three pages, then you’re not reading the comic correctly.
The rest of the comic is packed with artistic and design brilliance which shows Frank Cho at his best. The narrative isn’t particular complex but it doesn’t need to be. This is like the opening sequence of an Indiana Jones movie, where the sole purpose is to introduce the main character and her skill set. The reader is shown Grace’s good nature, comedic repertoire, physical strength and fighting abilities. We are also shown that she does have a weakness; her over confidence.
Cho, like Grace, also doesn’t pull any punches. The violence is quite graphic which is befitting of a superhuman who has no moral barrier against killing. She strikes out and she strikes out hard; literally punching her way through henchmen to get at the boss. These pages aren’t for the faint of heart especially as Cho’s art style is fairly realistic.
But this violence is contained, and even tamed, by the smart manipulation of the medium. Chu obviously knows how to use his art and the comic book format to tell a story. He is able to lead you through the panels without any complication. It’s effortless to read. There is a definite thread that starts on page one and works its’ way through each panel and page until the final cliff-hanger of a scene. The script gives you the story but the art gives you the character.
This is an impressive opening issue and a prime example of what can be achieved within the pages of a typical comic book format.
Have you read Skybourne #1?
What are your thoughts on the latest releases from Boom Studios?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he might use his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson
Source: Boom Studios
A straight forward narrative presented by a master of comic book art. This first issue should satisfy any fan of the medium although the violence may put some people off.