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Abyss: Family Issues #1 Comic Review - -

Story 7.0
Art 6.5
Value 5.0
Total 6.2
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
Release Date: 2/16/2011
Reviewer: Lyz Reblin


Abyss: Family Issues #1

My biggest problem with Abyss was not the lack of prior knowledge I had of the first volume of the comic, but how I just kept on comparing the books to other entertainment entities. For instance, take the cover. It says “HERO RULE #1: ALWAYS WATCH WHERE YOU ARE FLYING!” From this I got a Zombieland reference, however this idea of “Hero Rules” is not followed through in the comic. But my point is that I spent more time thinking about other comics and movies, than I did enjoying what was presented in front of me.

Abyss follows Eric Hoffman, whose father just happens to be the super-villian, Abyss. After defeating his father with the help of other superheroes, Eric is trying to convince the caped crusaders that he is worthy of joining their ranks. But will they ever be able to trust the son of the world’s most diabolical villain? 

I got an ArchEnemies of Dark Horse tone from this comic. They have a similar style of humor and some familiar super hero elements. The humor is probably Abyss’s strongest quality. There are some really good lines in the comic, along with visual jokes. 

But again, I found myself comparing Abyss to other comics. The opening panel has a clock very similar to that of Watchmen and there is a scene reminiscent of the first Tobey Maguire Spiderman film in there as well. The character of Eric also has some Bruce Wayne characteristics. However, the more I think about, the more I find these coincidences intentional. Writer Kevin Rubio clearly knows his comics, because Abyss is not a straightforward superhero tale, but a satire on the genre. He is able to point out the flaws and cheesiness of such characters. So perhaps all of these references are just part of his master plan. 

As for Alfonso Ruiz’s art, I was for the most part okay with it. But there were two major problems I did find. Mr. Magic constantly stood with arms across his chest in nearly every panel, rarely changing his stance. A bit of variety would have been nice. Also, the characters of Billy and Eric looked so similar that it took me about a quarter of the way through the book to figure out they were two different characters. That being said, the mysterious figure at the end of the comic was drawn and colored in a way I’ve never seen before. I just stared at the panels for minutes trying to figure out how it was done. 

Though the comic for the most part is satirizing the superhero world, there is one point that they do not make fun of but embrace. This is in their depiction of woman. Tightly dressed in revealing costumes, one girl even answers her sorority house’s door in what barely counts as clothes and is just bordering on lingerie. Sure, all of the women in the comic are strong and powerful, but they are still objectified. 

Plot-wise there is a predictable twist at the end leading the readers into an unoriginal arc. However, because the comic is more about humor than serious character development, I figure unoriginality is not its biggest detriment. What could be is the publisher’s attitude. At the beginning of the comic, the reader gets an overview of what happened in the previous volume. Then, during an expositional scene there is a footnote that says: “Editor’s Note-This little piece of exposition is for all you people who didn’t get the first series. Go buy it in trade paperback now! We can always use the sales!” Desperate much? There is another editor’s note that made no sense to me as to why it was there, it just seemed to break the fourth wall for no reason. 

What I’m saying is, the only thing in the way of this comic is its indie nature. Of course it won’t get the attention it deserves because it is published by a company that I had never heard of up until now. But if the publishers keep on getting in the way of their own comic, I see no one else to blame for poor sales but themselves. 


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