Tag Archives: Nick Spencer

Comic Book Noise 774: The Failure of Diversity

Host Derek Coward talks about Mass Effect Andromeda, Rick and Morty, Legion, Dark Matter, and why Marvel’s push for diversity has failed.

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Comic Book Noise 758: Cars, Captain America, and Future Reading

Host Derek Coward talks about hopefully getting a new car soon, the Captain America titles, and he tries to figure out what he wants to read next.

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Quick Hit Review: Shuddertown #1

Written By: Nick Spencer
Art and Colors By: Adam Green
Letters By: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: Image Comics

What have Keanu Reeves and Christian Bale been up to lately? Well, if you read this comic, you may get the impression that they have taken up law enforcement…or modeling. Issac Hernandez has a case to solve, like most cops do, but as he digs deeper into his mystery, it becomes apparent that all of his suspects of murder are well…dead themselves.

I found it funny that the same day I watched the movie Street Kings, I read this book because both share some pretty heavy similarities. The Keanu Reeves aspect obviously, but more of what I mean is that both lead characters share the conflict of doing their job. Tom Ludlow (of Street Kings) spends most of the film working his way past his own corruption, while here in Shuddertown, Issac Hernandez seems to have trouble focusing. He is a character, a cop who almost seems to not have a cause and instead appears irritated working cases and tries to drown his annoyances in pills. A reader could also say that the corruption angle works with Issac Hernandez as well – again, the drug use and the strippers.

Yet, even with that sense of “done before” against it, I still enjoyed Shuddertown #1 in terms of story because of the strong narrative throughout the issue. Spencer constructs the character right before the readers’ eyes very well with his method. Placing us right into Issac’s mind and story works as the best possible way to “get” this character because Issac, and in the way he thinks, tells us who he is himself…whether he knows it or not. Also, just as a first issue, I think this was very well organized and paced. Everything a reader needs to know for this tale is planted: the character, the conflict and the case.

The artwork this book presents is its main barrier though. I joked about Keanu Reeves and Christian Bale staring in this book, but in all seriousness, the book does really appear that way at times. To give a comparison, it is pretty obvious Adam Green takes a heavy influence from Alex Maleev – from the style down to the color palette. I do not mind when an artist takes an influence, but this was a straight “let me try to ape Maleev” situation, and I do not think it worked very well. In many cases I felt that the sequential aspect was pretty stiff (page 10 – car hitting guard rail), and again, the photo reference was not all too well covered. In many instances I felt that this was just a collage of actual photographs, pieced together trying to tell a story – it was just distracting. I do not mind photo realism as a style, but when you are producing comic book artwork, it is important that the photos also develop some sense of atmosphere behind them. That is something I think Maleev captures well, but Green does not.

Shuddertown is not a horrible comic book in any circumstance, and I am not claiming that Nick Spencer is ripping off Street Kings (for all I know, he has never heard of it). The artwork could use a makeover, but I think the character and the situation are good enough to give this book a pass. Not great, but still worth checking out.

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