Double Feature Fantasy
Hot on the heels of our review of Scifi Double Feature 2 comes the second helping of Fantasy Double Feature with Issue 2. With our virtual “to read pile” final getting smaller, we can stay current on Double Feature. This issue is a bit of departure as it has one story, “Colt Noble” which was a web comic and “Skyward”, a soon to be comic book. If you are unfimilar with Double Feature go to their Website and check out the digital comic goodness from Four Star Studios.
First up is Colt Noble and The Mega Lords in the tale titled “Post-Action Figures”. Written by Tim Seeley, art by Mike Dimayuga, Colors by Carlos Badilla. The story is a quick table setter/reminder for Colt Noble fans. The story serves as a tongue in cheek love letter to 80’s cartoons more specifically but not limited to He-man. Starting off with a brief intro into the world of Colt Noble, it jumps right into the funny with Colt buying booze for minors. Colt Noble sits sharing a brew with some local kids. Reveling in past adventures, he turns the conversation to small talk. Quickly it’s established that his hulking exterior might not be all that it appears to be. The story shifts and ends on the heels(villains) of the Colt Noble-verse in the form of Archfiend and Hoodoo Hex. The story takes an interesting and funny examination of the constant failures of arch villains of 80’s cartoon. You could easily substitute Archfiend for any 80’s cartoon villain like Cobra Comander, Skeletor etc.
On the writing side, Seeley is exercising his funnier side with this story, which also comes through in his other writings. The story never takes itself too seriously, but at the same time never comes across as making fun of the genre. Seeley does have some fun with the character of Colt Noble which is actually a very interesting take on his alter ego Jaysen. There are also a couple of winks and nods to some other 80’s cartoons in the story and in the art.
On the art side, Mike Dimayuga has a really different take on the fantasy genre. The character designs have a slightly 80’s over-the-top look. The characters of War-Man, Archfiend and the grossly underused Artllarilla come to mind. The character design doesn’t end with the Mega Lords either. The kids from the beginning get in on the fun designs with a look that combines fantasy elements with a more modern touch. The kids have on modern-looking vests and wool hats, but wear, for a lack of better term: blouses with laced up collars. The coloring in the story really stands out and lends itself to the art. Carlos Badilla creates a warm and textured feel to the book, while giving a nod to its 80’s inspiration.
“Skyward” – Story and Art by Jeremy Dale, Colors by Dash Martin, Cover Colors Steve Downer, Color Flats by Chris Barnes. Skyward is a great example of the potential use of Double Feature as a vehicle to promote other stories. This tale serves a the digital issue #0 for the soon to be launched story of Skyward. The story does however come up short in execution of a true launching pad or teaser of the series.
By no means was the story bad; quite the opposite the story had a clear beginning, middle and end. In eight pages Dale was able to give subtle hints that help give the character depth. Where it comes up short is that there is no frame of reference for the story. It’s clear that it is part of a bigger story but there was not much depth to the world. The story follows three characters as they enter the woods to do their daily chores. There is quick mention of an increase in monster sightings in the woods outside the characters’ small village. There isn’t much of a strong emphasis on the danger of these monsters, until one shows up. Truth be told, it’s unclear (with the exception of the commentary) that the bigger story will involve monsters. The commentary is well done but it’s really not a place to fill in the blanks of a story. It should instead be an inside look at the creative process.
The book ends on an action piece that is well executed. What Dale does well is the art, and more specifically, character design. The characters’ costumes give hints to their personalities. One such character is a bit of slacker/douchebag. The character in question has his colors up and seems to be more concerned with his personal appearances than collecting firewood. Overall a good story that will pique enough interest to look into the bigger story and in all fairness eight pages is difficult to tell a in-depth story.
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