Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bravest Warriors #1 Review

After speaking with Mike Holmes about it, I was even more excited to get my hands on Boom! Comics' Bravest Warriors #1.  Adapting Pendleton Ward's latest property about a group of four teenagers who travel through space helping different alien races out of off-the-wall situations, it sounded like Holmes and writer Joey Comeau were set to deliver something special.  So now that I've the book has hit stands and I've gotten the chance to read through the whole thing, the question becomes how did they do?  Hit the jump to find out.

Written by Joey Comeau
Art by Mike Holmes
Colours by Zack Sterling

After seeing the brilliant comics that Ryan North and company have been producing over in the pages of Adventure Time, I've found myself getting mighty interested in Boom!'s Pendleton Ward adaptations.  And when I discovered that Joey Comeau (of A Softer World) and Mike Holmes (of generally great art) would be working on Bravest Warriors, my expectations only got higher.  These are two mighty talented gentlemen who have done awesome things separately, so I had hoped that they could do awesome things as a unit.

Spoiler alert: they can.

While I had high expectations going into this issue, Comeau and Holmes met and exceeded them multiple times over before I was halfway through the issue.  Holmes described this comic as "unpredictable" and that is spot on.  Other appropriate adjectives would include (but not be limited to) "wacky", "crazy", and "zany".  This book is kind of all over the place, and that is one of its greatest strengths.

From start to finish, our heroes find a solution to sexism (in a rather explosive fashion), watch two cupcakes fight to the death, have a movie night, and set off on another mission, to name but the highest of highlights.  These are all very different tasks that our heroes face, which definitely adds variety to the book, but the best part about it all is that each and every situation is unequivocally hilarious.  Like Adventure Time, there's a certain amount of internal logic that permeates the world of the Bravest Warriors, but every single aspect of this world seems geared to elicit maximum laughs.  Comeau is able to find humour any and every situation (and often in multiple ways), and Holmes does more than his fair share in helping this effort by nailing the book's many visual gags (such as the aforementioned cupcake battle and its aftermath).

But Holmes hits far more than the book's humour.  He is generally all over this comic, managing to fit his style in with the established Bravest Warriors show's aesthetic, while also injecting lots of his own self into these pages.  His imagination seemingly runs wild from start to finish, presenting us with such gems as an alien race that looks like antropomorphized half-peeled bananas and popcorn-zookas (to name but a few).  And let's not forget that cupcake fight.  Oh, mercy.  The result is this beautiful cartoony world where things appear to be perpetually dialed up to 11.

Kudos must also be given to Zack Sterling, the book's colourist.  Bravest Warriors is colourful as heck, and Sterling's colour choices are impeccable, supporting whatever is going on on the page.  The Bravest Warriors live in a colourful universe, and Sterling's work really emphasizes this fact.  In the end, Holmes' pages with Sterling's colours are brimming with life and energy, which fits perfectly with the writing that Comeau is putting out there.

But Bravest Warriors isn't only hijinx and shenanigans.  I mean, that's definitely a big part don't get me wrong, but Comeau also fits a lot of heart into this book, too.  It's a little surprising at first how often these characters talk about their feelings, but it quickly becomes an integral part of the world's internal logic and consistency.  Indeed, it's really a welcome addition, because while feelings and emotions are talked of in the same strange and flippant way that everything else is, there's also a real honesty in how these characters talk about them.  It ends up adding a lot to the end product and makes the Bravest Warriors pretty decent role models for younger readers in a funny, roundabout way.

Like Boom!'s other Pendleton Ward adaptations, Bravest Warriors also has backup stories in every issue, with this round being provided by Ryan Pequin (of Three Word Phrase), and it's just as fun and irreverent as the main story.  I never thought a game of lazer tag could be fun (let alone this fun), but Pequin proves me wrong with this 6-page romp.

Verdict - Must Read.  The cupcake fight is worth the price of admission alone, but above and beyond that, Comeau and Holmes have a hit on their hands.  This book is a brilliant combination of humour, fun, and whimsy that makes it a great time for readers of all ages and backgrounds.  Bravest Warriors is sold out at the distributor level, so it might be hard to find yourself a copy, but if you can, you're in for a treat.

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