Published on 10-31-2011 11:49 PM
War of the Independents #1 (Red Anvil)
By Dave Ryan, Richard Kane Ferguson, Franchesco, Mariano Nicieza, Richard Dominguez, John Higgins, Peter Palmiotti, Wilson Ramos Jr.
A sorcerer and demon seek Enkidu, ancient friend of Gilgamesh, for some nefarious purpose. But they didn’t expect the assemblage of heroes ready to stand against them. On its surface, War of the Independents is a clever, worthy idea. It’s essentially a big crossover event that happens to feature characters not simply from one of the Big Two publishers, but a wealth of independent, creator-owned characters from throughout the comic book spectrum. We’ve got a few near-superstars in here – Madman, E-Man, Too Much Coffee Man, Mr. Monster, Scud the Disposable Assassin, Cerebus, the Maxx… even Jeff Smith’s Bone and Jimmie Robinson’s Bomb Queen are sharing panel space with Gumby and Cassie Hack. Geeks love seeing different heroes coming together, and that’s great. But the story here is extremely thin – Orcus and his master’s scheme seems no more concise than causing the “fall of man,” and the final page seems to be an attempt at a meta-message against corporate ownership of characters. It doesn’t feel out of place at all, but considering the number of Image and Dark Horse alumni that turn up in this page – even if they are creator owned – it seems a tad forced. The artwork, furthermore, is working against the book. The respective artist working on each page seem to be attempting to emulate the styles of the original artists. Sometimes it looks fine – the Phazer pages, for example. But the introduction of Fone Bone looks terribly off-model. And even when the characters do look like themselves, they don’t look right together. The double-page spread near the end looks like a massive photoshop job rather than a page from a crossover. I’m really not sure where this book is going, but I hope it sharpens its focus before it goes too much further.