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Check out these advance reviews on some of our Kickstart Comics!


Check out these advance reviews on some of our Kickstart Comics!

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Rift Raiders OGN
Written by Mark Sable
Art by Julian Totino Tedesco and Juan Manuel Tumburus
Lettering by Bill Tortolini
Published by Kickstart Comics
Review by David Pepose

If Rift Raiders is the flagship of Kickstart Comics, I have to say — this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Imagine National Treasure mixed with Runaways and throw it through time instead of space, and you've got the basic gist of Mark Sable and Julian Totino Tedesco's new book. Broad enough to embrace new readers and way more stylish than it has any right to be, there is a whole lot to like about Rift Raiders.

While the overall structure of Rift Raiders isn't anything too revolutionary, what Sable succeeds in doing is packing in as many flights of imagination as he can into his globetrotting treasure hunt. And why not? He's got all of history (and even mythology) to choose from, so why not pack in things like Medusa's head or steampunk exoskeletons or weapons of mass destruction disguised as pyramids? And something else that works in his favor is the wittiness of all of his characters, who move so fast that even if you recognize that they're just playing to archetype, at least they're being entertaining about it.

But the real success story in this book is Julian Totino Tedesco, who pulls a page from the Sean Murphy playbook with some looser, more cartoony lines than his work on Unthinkable — and man, does it look absolutely slick. Dodger and his friends could have been a lot more two-dimensional, but Tedesco manages to take the stock characters and really give them some expressiveness and speed. His work looks the best when there's some action going on, as Tedesco plays with panel angles and motion lines to really bring everything home. But it’s the cartoony lines that make everything so stylish, and that's the true charisma of this book.

Granted, there will be those who argue that the broad nature of the book — the stock characters, the time travel, all the things that show there aren't a lot of bold choices being made — but I'd argue that that's why this book will succeed in its chosen market. Comics are an intimidating beast for a lot of people, so why toss your most convoluted high concept to customers at Walmart? This is the sort of book that is easy to get on the ground floor, and almost demands sequels, just like any good cartoon series. Rift Raiders is so fun and so beautifully illustrated, it's a fantastic first impression for the Kickstart Comics platform.




Hero Complex OGN
Written by Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin
Art by Javi Fernandez and Thomas Smith
Lettering by Bill Tortolini
Published by Kickstart Comics
Review by Erika D. Peterman

There’s a reason Superman keeps his day job. Even if you save the day several times a week, there’s still rent, utilities and phone bills to pay. Unless you’re willing to sell out, market yourself, or both, you’re just a schmuck in Spandex who has to haggle with the landlord.

That’s the cold, hard reality for Captain Supreme in Hero Complex, and his struggles make for a sharply funny, richly rewarding new comic. I lost track of the number of times I laughed out loud while reading this story that winks at Big Two archetypes while establishing its own endearing identity.

Warren, aka Captain Supreme, is a principled guy; an all-around Boy Scout who wants to do good for good’s sake. But as his loyal sidekick, Randall, aka Geniac, keeps reminding him, pure-hearted heroics don’t serve the bottom line. The crime-fighting roommates are broke and on the verge of being evicted, just in time for Warren’s 10-year high school reunion. Meanwhile, brooding antihero Eclipse grabs all the glory, largely because of his edgy, tortured soul routine. Warren and Randall don’t buy it, but the public and the press can’t get enough of the guy. Writers Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin mine this injustice for comic gold in a bank robbery scene where Captain Supreme and Geniac are upstaged yet again. Even the cops are swooning.

“Captain Supreme and what’s-his-name tried to rush me out of there before I got my free toaster,” an ungrateful bystander says. “Thank God Eclipse showed up. He got me my toaster AND a lower interest rate.”

The fun really begins when Warren heads home to Tinyville, where his parents, unaware of his alter ego, give him a hard time about being a slacker. His dad, who has a penchant for hilariously inappropriate one-liners, also misinterprets Warren and Randall's friendship.

“Don’t be silly, Stan,” his mother retorts. “Warren’s not interesting enough to be gay.”

Javi Fernandez’s illustrations are easy on the eyes, and he has an energetic, expressive style that works with the story. He’s clearly a multifaceted artist who can handle shoot-’em-up action sequences and quieter moments. The art is a bit inconsistent though. Some panels look rushed and a little sloppy, while others, like a scene of Captain Supreme ferrying Geniac through the sky in a homemade sling, are fantastic. Thomas Smith’s colors are luminous in the comic’s heroic moments and more subdued where appropriate. On the whole, it's an attractive package.

Many comics stumble in trying to make their heroes relatable, but Hero Complex pulls it off in a way that’s sincere, witty and believable. It’s an effortlessly winning book with legs, and quite a bit of heart.