Wednesday, March 26, 2014
"So let me get this straight, 57's the new 51 and a guy named BoB's got your stones."
Whenever aliens finally decide to make their way down to Earth, there's going to be all manner of insanity and general zaniness going on. Having someone on the planet to help handle that zaniness is always a good thing and Argent Starr is that man in Argent Starr: Tales From the Archive #1-2. The issues are written by Lyn T. Bird and Altemus, illustrated and lettered by Altemus and colored by Byrd.
It's 2062 and Argent Starr passes time in the Glow Zone, generally just showing off for himself and his bodyguard Mrs. Thorne. Things are as normal as expected until Starr gets an alert that the Cardinal Stone's safety is being threatened by Lazarus Stern, a ninja thief. Mix in a shapeshifting alien named Rey Zyten (who also happens to have a propensity for gambling) and things get even more chaotic. Area 51 isn't quite what it seems and the Cardinal Stone has the capability to destroy multiple worlds if mishandled.
There's a lot going on the first two issues of Argent Starr; so much so that the first issue feels very overwhelming. The second issue really evens things out a bit and provides some context, but Bird and Altemus crammed the first issue with so much universe building that it's quite dizzying. Argent Starr himself is depicted as a cross between Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, while Lazarus is somewhere between Deadpool and Snake Eyes. Those characters definitely carry the story and are the main players, but there's still quite a bit of information to soak up. In fact, the first issue is extremely confusing, even though the second issue does slow things down immensely and helps to explain more to the reader about the world in Argent Starr.
Altemus' art is pretty solid overall. Character anatomy is presented cleanly and facial expressions are sufficiently expressive of the relevant emotions. Every panel handles the action it's tasked with well, providing a good look at that moment in the story. And there are quite a variety of insets used for the book, most of which are overlays that supplement the action being parlayed on page. Altemus does get creative with some of the non-human characters, helping to present a rather diverse universe converging on point that brings them all together. The illustrations and coloring work for the book and effectively get the reader engaged in what's happening in the book.
Argent Starr: Tales From the Archive #1-2 is a very ambitious book that doesn't hesitate in throwing everything at the reader at once. There's a fairly compelling story in the book somewhere, once you get past being bombarded by information in the first issue. Bird and Altemus rely on somewhat eccentric dialogue to carry the story, which offers a slightly uneven pacing and a feeling that the story is jumping around quite a bit. That evens out a lot in the second issue, with the reader given a bit more time to digest what's going on. Altemus' art is up to the task of conveying the action to the reader, giving them looks at a wide variety of characters. There's definitely a lot going on in Argent Starr: Tales From the Archive #1-2 and it appears there's going to be something intriguing once all the dust settles from backstory.
Argent Starr: Tales From the Archive #1-2 are available now.