Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trade Waiting - Dynamo 5 Vol 2, Moments of Truth

I previously reviewed the first volume of Dynamo 5 and gave it a Must Read verdict. Does Jay Faerber's character driven series hold up as it in the second volume? Hit the jump for my review to find out.

Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Mahmud A. Asrar
Collects Dynamo 5 #8-13

In the comments section of my previous Dynamo 5 review, I called the second volume better than the first volume, but, apparently, my opinion has changed over time. Volume two is the weaker of the two for one reason - focus, or lack thereof. It's a problem that I think a lot of offbeat superhero books have. They start focusing less on what makes them different and more on the standard superhero aspects of the book.

While the first volume of Dynamo 5 was driven by the characters, this volume is more action driven and passes over on some more character focused storytelling because of it. Now, this is not to say that there was no good character driven plots in the book, but they seem like they are the minor focus of the book. I think one reason for this, aside from the added emphasis on the action, is that it's often about two characters interacting, rather than the group dynamic, and, while there was some good interactions featured, it just felt less satisfying than what was in the first volume.

The lack of the focus on the group dynamic hurts the book because you don't always like the two members that Faerber focuses on. Gage and Spenser get a lot of focus in the book, but they are not my favourite members of the team either. Yeah, Faerber does some good work with the characters, but, since I'm not particularly interested in them, what they end up doing kind off falls flat. What worked in the first volume was the group dynamic and not all of the characters are going to be as interesting without that.

Another problem has to do with the fact that the volume is focused on revelations rather than relationships to a degree. In fact, two members of Dynamo 5 are "outed" to their parents as superheroes, but it's not really surprising since you were kind of expecting it to happen at some point anyway. There is also a "secret origin" for one of the members and, while it's something you should have expected once you think about it for a moment, Faerber does a good job with it. The overall problem with these revelations is that, to me, Faerber doesn't get any real traction out of them, so they feel like filler. They could pay off down the road, but I can't tell that at this point.

The action part of the book is pretty standard. It's basically about an anti-Dynamo 5 team being assembled and then the final confrontation toward the end of the book. This is mostly done by having a couple of villains show up, get defeated by some members of Dynamo 5 and then reappear later in the book.

Faerber also introduces a female assassin named Widowmaker, who claims to be the person that killed Captain Dynamo, though it doesn't really go anywhere. The main conflict is resolved, mostly just with the villains being defeated, in the fifth issue with the sixth dealing with the aftermath.

To me, Faerber skips over the interesting stuff, though he does touch on some of it, to get to the cliffhanger - Dynamo 5 disbands. That said, that's probably the main reason why I'm checking out the next volume, to see what Faerber does with the standard team disbanding storyline. If done right, Faerber should be able to get a good story out it and, despite my not liking this volume as much as the first, the fundamentals were still there.

Everything I said previously about Asrar's art still stands though. It's pretty standard stuff, but it's enjoyable. Due to the more action oriented nature of this trade, he does have more chances to "show off," as it were, and he produces some dynamic artwork. It's not the flashiest or most engaging stuff around, but it's still pretty good. His design work on the villains is pretty good, even if it's nothing overly original.

Verdict - Check It. Although Moments of Truth loses some of the charms and focus of the first volume, it's still enjoyable in it's own ways and manages to keep me interested enough to check out the third volume at some point.

Like this review? Interested in this book? Purchase Dynamo 5 Vol 2: Moments Of Truth from Amazon.com and help support The Weekly Crisis.

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