You might remember a while ago when I interviewed California-native comic book artist and animator, Matt Johnson (and if you don’t, feel free to get familiar). It’s been close to a year since then and, as promised, Matt has delivered the pilot issue of his creator-owned series, Thrash: Rise of Shidou, co-written by CJ Airline who was a big part of the story’s development. Matt has been hard at work, producing the comic solo on the artistic side of things. He gave me the opportunity to read and even critique it, before presenting my official review to you guys. So here it is, my totally unbiased opinion:
Without giving too much away, we learn that Thrash is a mysterious warrior haunted by a past steeped in bloodshed and death. This is an introduction to the path that Thrash walks, the world he comes from, and the eery foreshadowing sense that the torment of his past is going to set the tone for the future of every character he crosses. Story-wise, I’m hoping to learn more about the relationship between characters like Lord Baccamus and Secca, since this issue only lightly touches on what is a clear tension between the two of them. Even though this is just the pilot, there’s a lot bubbling under the surface; glimmers of animosity that may make or break some of the characters.
Matt’s heavy animation influence is immediately apparent, from the way his panels are presented to his coloring style. He throws dynamic angles and motion at us when he really wants us to feel the fight scenes, and pulls back during the story-driven scenes. I would love to see the emotion in some of the characters during the “talking” scenes approached with the same dynamic detail and intensity of the action-driven scenes. That being said, Matt does a nice job of setting a uniform mood for the entire book with his color choices, and he makes everything feel like a cinematic shot plucked right out of an animated feature.
Minus some of those things that most comic book creators know are only resolved by continuing to make comics, I think Matt’s debut creator-owned book is a good one. It has good art and a good story going for it, and I know the man works hard with a “never good enough” attitude – which lets me know that every book he puts out will be better than the last.
Plus, I have a thing for super cut warriors with battle scars. So maybe I am biased. A little.
Go pick up the first issue of Thrash: Rise of Shidou on Indy Planet right ‘chea: http://indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7486
And go be friends with Matt on Facebook and look at his art and stuff. He likes people.
Until next time.