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The Intrepids #6
posted September 20, 2011

imageCreators: Kurtis J. Wiebe, Scott Kowalchuk, Donna Gregory
Publishing Information: Image Comics, comic book, 28 pages, 2011, $2.99
Ordering Numbers:

In The Intrepids #6, we spend the first few pages learning the true identity of what I'm guessing is a six-issue bad guy and the last several pages watching the team of slightly quirky character types do combat with him before he's vanquished at story's conclusion. I couldn't tell you if that identity reveal is a shock not having read other issues, but the structure of the story seems so ruthlessly familiar that I can't imagine much about the comic really surprises its fans. In significant ways, The Intrepids #6 reminds me of a lot of the current spate of original television shows on basic cable networks like SyFy and TV Land. Those shows provide familiar thrills and practiced ways of unfolding a narrative for an audience that, when the show is effective, can be divided into those who have never seen those things before and are thus intrigued by their recursive power, and those so familiar with them that every tiny permutation in approach and execution registers as a thrill -- a kind of pop culture kabuki.

No one can deny that kind of commercially-oriented art routinely entertains an audience -- it's all around us -- but works like that also tend to be very forgettable, the kind of experience that when one encounters it later on the reaction is either complete ignorance of what was actually consumed or disbelief that so much personal time and effort was spent on it. It's much more frequently those works that push at the boundaries of art, even commercial forms, that stay in our memories the longest, even if we like the other kind of work a little more. There are other potential outcomes -- the work can be so immaculately executed it shines like a jewel and stands as an exemplar of its form, or it can hit on a level of cultural zeitgeist that makes it seem more important than when untethered from its time -- but neither would seem to apply to this genial but only reasonably well-crafted comic book. The best result here is that The Intrepids is a comic from younger creators that will move on to either a much more refined version of the same work or something altogether more original and startling. For now I can only wish them what you wish all pleasant people and their eager-to-please art: the audience and financial outcome for which they hope.