REVIEW: ‘Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers’ #1

(Dynamite Entertainment, 2014)

Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Nathan Fox, Jim Rugg, Ulises Farinas
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Simon Bowland

Based on Characters Created by Jack Kirby

Summary: What if you were told that your brain was so valuable, and you’re a member of the military, that if you die in the line of fire your mind will be transferred into a genetically perfect clone body? What would you do if you were killed, and something happened during the mind transfer, and your mind was split between two clone bodies and then jettisoned into two different time lines to live out your life?

This is the story of Captain Victory, or should I say two Captain Victory’s, and the Galactic Rangers’ hunt to find their lost-in-time leader.

Review: It’s an interesting concept, one that could be very difficult to pull off if you’re not careful. But Joe Casey is going for it, and so far he’s set himself up pretty well. I’m not familiar with the Kirby characters this series is based around, so to me these are all brand new characters and thus I should treat them as such.

We learn very little about Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers in this issue, beyond everything I mentioned in the summary for CV, and a few bio spots we get for the Rangers filled with very basic information. Issue #1 is mostly set up, and from page 1 it rushes to the cliffhanger it so badly wants to have. Everything is fast, and so we get a lot of babble tech talk concerning saving Captain Victory’s life, and our heroes, the Rangers, yelling at each other to get to safety after their caught in some crossfire.

You never get to spend too much time with anyone, and I think that was a mistake. Even with a slow build up, Casey could have pulled off his desired cliffhanger, even going so far as to simply explain what is going on around our characters. But he doesn’t, so I leave a bit more confused about all the middle events in the book. The ending though is crystal clear, and I am super intrigued to see where the story goes.

Casey implements the help of 3 different artists in the opening issue.

Nathan Fox is the artist that gets most time to shine here, doing the bulk of the pages in this really sketchy, disorganized style that I didn’t really take too. His is probably my least favorite of the three. Everything seems unfocused, but that may be contributed to the fast paced sense of the issue. I will admit though, while he started out choppy by the end of the issue I wasn’t having much of a problem following his work when the story slowed down a bit. Jim Rugg’s artwork isn’t much better, only taking up a few pages, but it does seem to be a step up. The two styles are very similar so I didn’t outright notice a difference between them when they switched. Farinas was my favorite of the 3, contributing a more pseudo-realistic style than the others. He only has two pages to work with here, but he uses them effectively to create the landscape of New York.

All 3 artists experiment a great deal with panel placement and flow of story, and that I appreciate, because I really enjoyed experiencing the story in a slightly more cinematic way than a straightforward A->B->C reading order.

Finally, credit where credit is due, the color in this book. Simpson does a magnificent job of making this comic feel vibrant and eye popping. Reading this book was like an explosion in my eyeballs, which was really neat. Every color seems to splash right off the page. If every issue can be like that, then aesthetically, we have a real winner on our hands.

To close, sadly Captain Victory & the Galactic Rangers isn’t a brilliant opening issue. It keeps you moving forward with very little time to breathe and take in the sights, or the atmosphere, or the dialogue. In future installments I hope there is more page space given to slower, character building moments. However the concepts are solid and the ending has me wanting more regardless of everything else about the issue. And that is definitely a plus.

Final Score: 2.5 Galactic Rangers out of 5

___________________________

DERRICK-image

Derrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.

You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net

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