Review by Cory Thrall
SCRIPT & ARTWORK BY: Andrew Grieve
“Team Stryker” is a full-blown action film straight from the 80’s, blasting its way into your brain with a tongue-in-cheek cast of characters, inventive and hilarious locations and villains, and just lots and lots of explosions and gunfire. This webcomic, which also has its first issue available in print, is a crazy mixture of film references, quirky action, and insane characters – all from the minds of Andrew Grieve and the friends he credits as co-creators. Started as a comic book one-off as a gift for a friends wedding, it has since grown into a webcomic that is in the beginnings of its fourth issue. Updated a couple of times a week – sometimes with amazingly cool content such as the pencil/ink/coloring process the comic goes through, or even some fan art – this comic is a page-a-week treat for anyone who enjoys parody films like “Naked Gun” or “Hot Shots”, all wrapped up in a thing called Team Stryker.
The Team itself consists of the following members – Eagleheart, the cigar chomping leader and 200+ year old badass; Deadeye, the ultra-violent and one-eyed Vietnam Vet; Casanova, the charmer and rookie of the team; and V-Scope, the team’s sniper whose best friend is a talking butterfly that only he hears. The designs for the individual members of the group are inspired and iconic, making it easy to pick out every member no matter how crazy the action gets. They are also well rounded in their characterization, and that is consistent throughout. It’s a perfect fit with the style the series is written in and the bombastic style of the artwork.
One of my favorite aspects of this series, other than the flashes of humor and silliness (and some of it is golden!), are the varied villains that the team faces in their first three adventures. When we’re talking about a group of villains that have such characters as Dr. Dinosaur (an almost arch-nemesis for Eagleheart), Hammer Time (yes, he is hilariously based on MC Hammer), and a woman who can enchant and mind control men with a simple look, I’m already sold right there. Even better, the stories involving these antagonists, as well as their surroundings in many cases, make the Team not only the movers of the plot and story, but the only missing piece of this haywire world. The universe it all exists in is great fun, and can be addicting.
The script is as solidly written as it is humorous and crazed, and the strong and masculine art completes the overall package. The coloring work is amazing, and one of my favorite parts about the artwork. The pre-colored art, as we’re shown occasionally within the series, is great on its own, for sure, but the coloring brings out so much that it’s an essential part of the look. The explosives, lights, gun fights, and flashes are all vibrant, full of life, and well rendered. The color’s shading is essential to many of the shots, but that’s what a good colorist does. Having the penciller, inker, and colorist being the same person really helps, as Grieve can pick and choose where he wants to accent and expand with color, and where he feels line detail is more important. It looks great, reads great, and feels great. A perfect mixture of the different art ‘mediums’ found in the creation of a comic.
I would go into the story, but I really feel it’s best as it unfolds. I feel I might have given too much of the fun away by mentioning some of the villains, but I still feel the experience will be enjoyable and you’ll still find yourself entertained and having a good belly laugh or two. Watch for this one, as it’s really got the legs to go places. In a world that desperately needs more fun in its comics and web series, this is a large and greatly needed shot into the comicverse. Check it out, you just might have a ton of fun!
The store on the website features some great products such as a shirt and coffee mug. You can also follow the link to where you can purchase #1 of the printed version. There is also some great desktop wallpapers of each character (as well as a Team Stryker logo over a mushroom cloud!), and bios for each member of the Team. Check it out: http://www.teamstrykercomic.com
Follow Cory Thrall on Twitter: @FeralFang27