Brain Boy #2 Comic Review
By Zak Edwards
October 17, 2013 - 10:22
Writer(s): Fred Van Lente
Penciller(s): R.B Silva
Inker(s): Rob Lean
Letterer(s): Nate Piekos
Cover Artist(s): Ariel Olivetti, variant by Juan Doe
The first issue of Brain Boy was a whirlwind of narration and kinetic visuals, an exercise in watching a self-absorbed character literally taking up his own work just simply in terms of real estate on the page. It’s a letterers worst nightmare: a page with more text than picture and a request to somehow cram it in. And while Nate Piekos does a wonderful job of actually aiding R.B Silva’s panelling with his lettering, the protagonist is taking over too much and, as such, the story feels less like a narrative and more like an explanation.
And a lot that gets explained I feel doesn’t really need to, but our protagonist still feels the need to tell us everything while writer Fred Van Lente crams a lot of plot progression into a relatively small amount of pages. What it reminds me of is the encyclopedic approach that makes the Lord of the Rings such a sprawling read: the crazy amount of information that pads a story which, when done poorly, detracts from audience enjoyment and the own story’s potential. The end result is characters who are introduced where I know their entire work history but nothing about them, like I just read their LinkedIn profile and expect that to tell me who they are. Overall, the book is frustrating at best, and not one that has enough to convince me to stay.
This is all unfortunate because there are plenty of great things going on in this series but it just can’t seem to figure out which ones are important and which ones are pointless. A girl who obstructs telepathic powers so that Brain Boy doesn’t actually know what she looks like? That’s a cool idea! A page dedicated to describing why exactly another character can cloak themselves? Patronizing and unnecessary.
Art-wise, penciller R.B Silva, inker Rob Lean, and colourist (with the aforementioned Nate Piekos) deliver a visually engaging book. Silva likes to play around with perspective throughout, which is a pretty poignant approach seeing how Brain Boy is constantly having his powers blocked, and it makes the book that much more watchable. His style is cartoonish and simple but very energetic, skipping along in a way that works against the dense writing.
Grade: 4/10 Too much of stuff that doesn’t matter, not enough of what does.
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