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Zmith, Ben & Hansen, Adam – The Sad State of Affairs of Rooster Jack


The Sad State of Affairs of Rooster Jack

Huzzah for finally finding what I was looking for with this series?  What’s that you say?  The creators of the series are under no obligation to please me and it’s silly to judge it using that criteria?  You would have a good point if my underlying problem with the series was wrong, but it really wasn’t: my theory was that the characters weren’t fleshed out enough and the quests they went on seemed random and meaningless.  This one solves that problem by not really being about any quest at all, although I suppose there is one that serves as the impetus of the book.  The team is after a gem in the middle of a body of water, but due to the um, sad state of the team, nobody is really able to get to it.  So they have a little hilarious recruitment drive and then finish off the comic.  Why don’t I care about the lack of any sort of resolution?  Because this was all brilliantly set up to finally get a look into some of these characters.  They complain around a bar, they complain while sitting around outside, and their various weaknesses are gone over in detail.  Then, once all that and the story is over, we get little synopses of the characters.  If you’re ever looking to read this series in some sort of order, start here.  Oh, and there’s also a 3-D element to the bios, the covers and bits of the middle.  The middle also features lots of games and such for kids, but with enough funnies to keep adults amused.  Or at least to keep me amused, I don’t know what you like.  Oh, and it comes with 3-D glasses to help you enjoy all the special features.  Yep, I have no problems with this one at all, and think it’s an excellent sign on the overall potential for the characters and the series.  $3

Hansen, Adam; Zmith, Ben & Ault, Laura – Rooster Jack vs. The Mermaids


Rooster Jack vs. The Mermaids

A constant danger of this reviewing business is that I’ll occasionally fall into the “what should have happened” trap.  You know, where I think a story could have been better if it had gone a different direction or had a few different parts, leaving aside the issue of reviewing the actual comics.  Well, with that in mind: you guys are doing it wrong.  It starts off with a really nice intro and a character synopsis; both useful things considering the collection of adventurers involved.  The first page of the comic is also excellent, as we see the rooster claw followed by Jack making his way out of hiding, declaring things to be safe even though he’s last to arrive.  From there the comic seems like somebody set a timer up and told them they had X hours to finish the whole thing.  It has the feel of one of those books that was rushed out for a con which, while it’s always nice to have new stuff for a con, the comic will live past the con and it’ll be seen as rushed after the fact.  The break between page two and three was confusing, as they were looking for a boat one minute and then facing a giant crystal wall holding the ocean the next.  Maybe they walked there, although you’d think you could see a thing like that coming.  Actually, on close examination of the page I see what might be a path, but it’s leaving too much to the imagination. Anyway, the mermaids get angry when one of the crew steps on a skull that’s outside the crystal wall, they somehow chase the group to an opening (even though they don’t seem to be able to break through the wall, so what’s the rush?) , and the crew battles a giant octopus.  That scene is pure chaos, and not in a good way.  I’m generally against spoilers, but as I’m making a point here you can look away if such a thing will offend you.  They fight, get smacked around, and run away.  I have no idea what the point of this was or why the mermaids were basically evil cheerleaders the whole time. Did they win before they ran away?  Look, these guys have built a solid, interesting cast of characters.  Let them breathe a bit!  Put this story in a 20 page comic instead of cramming it into eight pages and it would have been a whole lot better.  The frustrating thing is that I like Adam’s sense of humor as well as Ben and Laura’s artwork; it’s a good team with a potentially great story.  It’s just not a story that’s meant to be crammed into this small of a space.  If, on the other hand, you wanted to make an 8 page story for each of the adventurers to flesh out their history and personalities, that would be something I could get behind… $1.50