Monday, May 2, 2016
"Yo there! As you can see, I'm just a little over my head here. It's been the craziest week of my life. Let me explain."
High school is hard enough without having to contend with the responsibility of maintaining a mech suit that's been assigned to you for protecting the planet. That still manages to become and extracurricular activity for some students though and Dean is one of those students. His trials and tribulations are on display in Hyper Force Neo #1 from Z2 Comics. The issue is written and illustrated by Jarrett Williams and colored by Jeremy Lawson.
It's the year 21XX and Dean Masters is off to his first day of 9th grade. But unbeknownst to him, Dean will become the leader of Hyper Force Neo, a super-secret group of techie-teens who pilot massive Neo Mechs to defend the planet!
The story is pretty simple and Williams does a great job of making its protagonist Dean someone you want to root for. He's just a kid struggling with attending New Sigma High School and dealing with all the requisite things that come along with that--in fact, most of the issue is Williams focusing on a day in the life of Dean. At its core, the story is pretty standard fare as far as what's going on, but Williams really makes it feel different through the use of plenty of narrative in some pretty inventive ways. Williams throws anything and everything at the reader in a way that's effectively bombast for the reader's mind, asking them to reconcile a lot going on and keep up. In that regard, Williams script feels sufficiently fast-paced and adventurous, both traits that ensure there's always a lot going on.
Mirroring the frenetic pace of the script is Williams' artwork. On many pages, the artwork is completely overwhelming, in that there's so much visually to take in that it becomes a little too much. Williams linework is very appropriate for the work itself as it emphasizes a very loose style that provides a Saturday morning cartoon feel to the action. Having said that, there's almost always too much action to really appreciate what's going on in the book--Williams is pretty much moving the reader's eyes across the pages so fast that it's dizzying. Lawson's colors are bright and pop, but they also contribute to the sensory overload as well.
Hyper Force Neo #1 is definitely geared to be an all-ages comic whose underpinnings are familiar to just about anyone who is or ever has been a youth. Dean is a reluctant hero tasked with massive responsibilities and how he copes with those is the crux of series. Williams does a pretty solid job of making the story feel less cookie-cutter with relatively snappy dialogue and interesting storytelling conventions. His artwork is organized chaos in a way and is actually pretty good, but there's just a lot going on visually on every page to fully appreciate the talent. Hyper Force Neo #1 clocks in at a larger size for the first issue and if you can manage to make your way through it without getting lost in the artwork you'll find a pretty amusing story.
Hyper Force Neo #1 is available now.