Monday, October 14, 2013
"Careful Cataclysm. I don't think that thing is much interested in anything you have to say."
Ever hear of John Byrne? Old school comic book fans may know him from some work for Marvel and DC way back in the day. Now, he's making a rather triumphant return to comics with IDW in Triple Helix #1. The issue is written and illustrated by Byrne, with colors by Leonardo O'Grady and letters by Robbie Robbins.
Rock, Scissors, Paper, Apex, Cataclysm, Dart, Javelin and Pylon are the stars of the show here. They're going up against Golgotha, a familiar villain for fans of Byrne's work. Summing it up in those two sentences really makes it seem like there's not much going on, but any more information really sort of gives away the meat. Basically, a lot of talking and fighting happens.
Byrne cut his teeth in the past ages of comic art, but primarily got the attention in the 80s thanks to X-Men and Fantastic Four. That being said, Triple Helix #1 maintains that same look and feel from that time. Reading the book feels like you're reading an issue of X-Men from the 80s and it's pretty awesome. Byrne does throw a lot at the reader in the first issue, some of which may be overwhelming. It doesn't require you do any extracurricular reading so to speak, but it does require some patience and you may have to go over it a couple of times. Byrne drops the reader into the thick of combat, with presumably the world at stake and expects a lot of the reader in terms of keeping up.
The big draw here is going to be Byrne's artwork. Fans of his work will definitely recognize the work as it looks and feels like his work in the past. Some characters maybe resemble some of the X-Men characters a little too closely, but it's clear that the book is more inspired by the rather cosmic events of past comics as opposed to X-Men. While it's easy to say that comic art in general has moved on from Byrne's style, his art is still iconic that it stands on its own merits. Byrne does a great job with panel framing, offering up a myriad of facial expressions that get full attention from the reader. Classic sound effects appear alongside classic dialogue bubbles really take the reader back to the days of comic book yore.
Triple Helix #1 is a book that is very nostalgic. It goes back to a different time in comics, when stories were cosmic and characters were honed to a razor-edge. Byrne doesn't spend much time introducing the reader to the characters or the setting, but his work comes off strong enough that the reader can catch up. It's very bold to drop the reader in the midst of the chaos and ask them to keep up, but since it's a four issue mini-series, Byrne has to move relatively fast considering the likely grand ambitions of his work.
Triple Helix #1 is in stores now with interiors below.