Review - Nitro Battlers #1

"We were handed these powers and told to go save the world. It never occurred to us that we might die."

When faced with an alien invasion, we need superheroes on tap. Superheroes who can hold their own and save the day when the day needs saving. Superheroes like the Nitro Battlers in Nitro Battlers #1. The issue is written and illustrated by Eric Kim.

Nitro Red is the last of the Nitro Battlers, currently squaring off against Brozar, a frat boy monster with a penchant for sheer brutality. When things look the bleakest for the planet, Lord Quasar sets out to claim the largest prize he can possibly grab in the planet. That's why it comes as quite a surprise to him that the Nitro Battlers aren't quite done battling and manage to interject their talents into the fray one last time.

Nitro Battlers #1 plays out much like an 80s cartoon, such as Voltron or Speed Racer. It's got the kitschy feel to it that the dialogue affords the book, giving the characters some cheesy lines at time that fits within the context of the story. It's a one-shot, which means the story moves incredibly fast and doesn't really present it much of a chance to breathe. That's not a bad thing per se, but the reader is left to wonder how much more in-depth the story could have been had it gone on for maybe three issues instead of one. It's also bookended by action sequences, opening and end the book with a relatively high level of bombast.

Kim is also the primary artist on the book and it's clear his influences are the same aforementioned 80s cartoons. The book is in black and white with a manga sensibility, with Kim deciding to spend more time on the characters than the settings themselves. Brozar is the recipient of most of the attention to detail (and he looks fierce), but all of the characters demonstrate some very effective facial expressions and details. Kim relies on heavy blacks and shading to help accentuate some of the action and the Nitro Battlers in combat form will look a little familiar to some readers.

Nitro Battlers #1 is strong, but could have been much stronger had Kim expanded the story beyond a one-shot. Brozar actually seemed like a fun character to write and he comes off equally as entertaining, but the remainder of the characters feel a little static and formulaic. They work together as a cast of characters though and offer the reader a reliable story about heroes fighting aliens. Nitro Battlers #1 speaks to an older time when 80s cartoons were replete with over the top fighting and expressions, something that the book really captures pretty well.

Nitro Battlers #1 is available for preorder now via the Inkscratch website.