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Death is only the Beginning

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Existence 2.0 #1
by Nick Spencer and Ron Salas
Published by Image Comics under the Shadowline Imprint

I'm gonna start this one a little on the down side. I don't like that art. It's done by Ron Salas, a dude I'm not familiar with. His work here is passable at best, and at worst, looks like a failed attempt to mimic Sean Phillips' work. he just falls short on a lot of his anatomy, and his backgrounds really leave a lot to hope for. There are a few panels where he does some interesting things with his perspective, but it's nothing that hasn't been done before by better artists.

I hate to lay into the guy so much, since I don't really have other work of his to compare to, but I just calls it like I sees it here. I also think I'm ripping it because I think it hurts an otherwise awesome story. In fact, they got a quote from Jonathan Hickman on the cover. Hickman's the writer of a few critically acclaimed independent series from Image, which landed him a few gigs with Marvel. "Starting with panel one on page one, it's a hell of a ride, all first issues should be this good." That's high praise which, despite the artwork, I absolutely agree with.

Going into that first panel that Hickman mentioned, I had high hopes for what writer Nick Spencer could deliver. He's also a dude that is new to me, so I had no expectations picking up the book. The first captions, though: "Here's the best advice I can give you - if you ever get a chance in your life to die, make sure you do."

Now, no matter what the premise of your book, that's a pretty damn cool collection of words to start out. It's short, resounding, and leaves readers wondering WTF could get someone to say something like that. Then Spencer keeps up the intrigue throughout the entire issue without giving you so much information that you already know what's going to happen next issue. He reveals enough information to build his premise, but doesn't do it with boring expository dialogue. Then, when the stage is set, the action pours on full force.

In the midst of all this, he manages to address some... questionable sciences. He presents our main character, Sylvester Baladine, as a scientist who crosses some ethical lines that up till now have been blurry at best.

"See, whenever you read a story about how scientists figured out how to do something, but are struggling with the "ethics" of it before actually doing anything - yeah, that means someone out there - like me - has already done it." That makes me realize that there are people out there who have the brains to execute some pretty wild experiments, and people out there with enough desperation and cash to pay for it. If I had either of those things, super smarts or outrageous cash, you can bet I would already be sporting a pair of web shooters to go slinging around a major metropolitan area. I heard on the radio that Ryan Seacrest just signed a deal for $45 million. I could use that money to get some web shooters on my wrists and still have $5 million for a badass spider-mobile. Seacrest is even more of a loser if he doesn't use that green to score web shooters.

Who should read this book:
People who are into sci-fi.
People who are into crime and mystery stories.
People who know all the lyrics to the original Speed Racer theme song - Go Speed Racer, Go!.

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Nooch's Comic Reviews

More people should be reading comic books, dammit. As the resident comic book elitist, Nooch has made it his personal quest to get more noobs heading into their own dimly-lit comics dungeon every Wednesday to peruse the vastly under-rated world of sequential art.