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posted January 17, 2007
David B. Schwartz, Sean Wang, Guru-eFX
Image, comic book, 48 pages, January 2007, $5.99
This is the second of a two-issue mini-series, which I suppose will soon be a thin trade paperback. The reason it stood out in my reading pile was because I seem to remember a lot of PR working in its direction before the debut of the first issue, and because it boasts that modern, super-slick appearance for no particular reason other than it makes it look that much fancier than its comic book cousins.
Here's the problem. If you've never read a superhero comic published after 1975, than Meltdown
's straight-faced dissection of the notion of heroism and its general talky soap opera style might seem kind of intriguing. The problem is that as a reader with fresh eyes you'd probably be struck by the lame, generic superhero universe and find a lot of the costumed add-ins overwrought or unappealing or just plain unnecessary. If you've read lots and lots of superhero comics published since 1975, then you're probably cool with the general posturing that comes with the specific iteration of the genre and may even accept the notion that these are iconic characters with special poignancy when it comes to messages like sacrifice and legacy. The problem is that as a reader with experienced eyes you've probably seen this type of thing done a hundred times before, with more interesting characters that have been around long enough to lend their cultural status to the point being made.
Immaculate craftwork might make this interesting on some level, but this looks and reads like professional, standard mainstream American comic book work to me. The dialog slips into inarticulate mouthfuls of phrase-making at the same rate that the artwork occasionally relaxes into poses and silly costume designs.
So what you have is a comic that on the one hand might impress outsiders pitched a feature article -- or movie -- and really hardcore superhero fans that never get tired of seeing costumed heroes and their problems treated in a respectful, straight-ahead fashion. There are enough of both for creators to make a go of it, and God bless them, but I'd rather read just about any of the 10,000 comics that already exist in this headspace than buy a new one. Or, if you prefer the consumer’s point of view: this series was not worth 48 quarter-bin comics.