Tuesday, December 15, 2015
"And he's just the latest one, Atlas."
Heroes rise and fall. Villains rise and fall. It's pretty clear what they have in common. To A Pulp from Pantheon Comics delves a little deeper into both sides of the parallel. The issue is written by Bobby Simpson and J. Luke Pham, illustrated by George Kambadias, colored by Simpson and lettered by Micah Myers.
The last two surviving members of a pantheon of superheroes work together to solve it.
The tale crafted by Simpson and Pham reads a lot like the big reveal after a whodunnit. The duo decided to catch the reader up to speed in retrospect, relying on the interaction between Atlas and Argos, the two remaining superheroes. The formation of the group (and the heroes within it) is similar to that of the Justice League and it's pretty apparent that Simpson and Pham are offering more than just a passing resemblance. The issue progresses via Argos informing Atlas about how the other superheroes met their death, all while Argos insinuates something more sinister at play. The pacing of the issue actually makes for a pretty heady reveal at the end, effectively capitalizing on the reader's likely preconceived notion of what the characters stand for based on their resemblance to other, more popular characters.
The unique artwork in To A Pulp is extremely rudimentary, but it adds a certain level of sophistication to the proceedings. It's very much a style that emphasizes the characters with simplistic outlines and little detail, yet Kambadias ensures that each character emotes perfectly. Each character does have a look that comic book fans will definitely recognize as "inspired," but that does add to the overall enjoyment of the book. There's also some jumping back and forth between empty gutters and full-page spreads, the latter of which helps further characterize both Atlas and Argos in an almost operatic way. Simpson's colors are primary and basic in a way that doesn't distract the reader.
To A Pulp #1 wears its comic influences on its sleeve like a badge of honor and respect. There's an interesting cliffhanger that the creators could use as a launching point for a further series, even if it is something of a daunting task to keep things interesting. Simpson and Pham's dialogue is equal parts universe-building and expository, working in a way that gives the reader enough information to keep them informed without telling them everything. Kambadias' illustrations are clean and simple, working very effectively at showcasing the fall of the superheroes. To A Pulp< #1 is a great first issue that may be obvious with its inspirations, but does so in a somewhat cheeky and reverential way.
To A Pulp #1 is available now on Comixology.