Friday, September 5, 2014

Review - Cloaks #1

"Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the show!"

Magic is just that: magic. There's a certain suspension of disbelief that accompanies street performances and illusions, but that suspension ensures that the show truly impresses. BOOM! Studios is a firm believer in offering up titles that capitalize on magic and its wonderment, including the latest in Cloaks #1. The issue is written by Caleb Monroe, illustrated by Mariano Navarro, colored by Gabriel Cassata and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.

In the Big Apple, a highly skilled street illusionist named Adam blows the minds of crowds with logic-defying acts, while surreptitiously using his artistry to steal from corrupt Wall Street investment bankers and re-distribute their ill-begotten wealth to those in need. He’s a modern-day Robin Hood, but his travails garner the attention of the local authorities. While evading their pursuit, Adam is confronted by three suits and quickly ascertains that freedom has a cost—in order to maintain his liberty, he must join this clandestine Black Ops organization simply known as CLOAKS.

Cloaks #1 starts off very quickly and doesn't really let up. Monroe subtly introduces the reader to Adam through a street performance and subsequent job, showing his talents as both a magician and a thief. It's the latter ability that the book thrives on, as Adam is pretty proficient as a thief and his talents make him a perfect fit for the organization being put together. Monroe's dialogue is pretty snappy, keeping the brisk pace of Adam's life moving in lockstep with that of the story itself. And the way Adam is revealed to the reader feels very natural and organic; Monroe doesn't really force his character development at all.

While the book is one of magic and illusions, it's largely rooted in the real world and Navarro does a good job keeping the book grounded in reality. Navarro's style is very slick and fits the narrative of the book in terms of a quick-talking magician keen on robbing the rich to help the poor. There's one really cool page where the sidebar has a list of basic magic concepts while Adam is performing a trick in the panels on the left. This decision fits the concept of the book perfectly and it would've been cool if there were a few more instances like this where the art imitated life so to speak. Background settings show enough detail where the characters don't stand out too much, helping to make the city itself feel like it's in on the act as well.

Cloaks #1 is an interesting first issues. It relies on the disdain for the corporate greed prevalent in New York City as a backdrop for a magician trying to help out those he can with his talents. In this regard, Monroe gives Adam characteristics worthy of a generous Robin Hood type. Navarro's art is appropriate for the book and here's hoping some of the illustrative "tricks" mentioned above continue and become more pervasive in future issues of the series. Cloaks #1 is relatively light book that's pretty fun to read, offering a chance for deeper socio-political issues to be scratched down the line.

Cloaks #1 is in stores now with interiors below.


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