R.I.P.D #1 Review
By Zak Edwards
November 27, 2012 - 18:08
Publisher(s): Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Jeremy Barlow & Peter Lenkov
Penciller(s): Tony Parker
Cover Artist(s): Dave Wilkins
If any part of Dark Horse’s newest series, R.I.P.D: City of the Damned, sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Not because the series is related to a series from about twelve years ago, but because the story is pretty basic, purposefully so, to emphasize the links between genre fictions in general. The plot works like this: man dies, joins after death group, starts shooting stuff cause he’s the only man who can do it, evil rises! The whole thing immediately goes through the motions of genre, but in such a way that is entertaining and one hell of a ride (on horses!)!
Probably one part Preacher’s Saint of All-Murders (or whatever his name is) and one part Dead Like Me (which is itself not really an original concept), R.I.P.D’s formula works well because it’s able to collapse so much together generically. Western, supernatural, police procedural, science fiction, all in twenty-two pages no less, blends seamlessly. This is in part because of artist Tony Parker’s ability to quick-reference (more on that below), but also because writer Jeremy Barlow’s concept over-reaches without stretching too thin. I could see this genre-blending becoming an issue later on, but here, in this first issue, they show a lineage of genre that is easily digestible.
And R.I.P.D #1 works well as a first issue. It follows the formula, once again, especially the trope of the protagonist as a ‘new guy’ that allows for exposition that gets fairly dense in places. The patchy exposition, too dense in the middle and extremely sparse at the end, makes the middle a bit of a chore and the end a quick wrap up that ends far too suddenly and more than a little unreasonably. Overall, the pacing makes it tough to get through in places and disappointing in others while still being generally entertaining.
Artist Tony Parker’s artwork calls on familiarity to help the extensive genre blending. The opening sci-fi looks a bit like Star Wars Episode I with all the chrome and bridges, the Western is pretty easy to pick out as well and blends into the rest of the comic, so much so that the Leopard wandering around could barely register without Parker’s own emphasis. This quick reference tactic, as I said, eases all these genres being placed together so quickly, which only helps. Overall, the book looks great, especially in the continual attention to detail, and I look forward to the next issue.
Grade: 6.5/10 Pacing issues, but overall a delightful genre transgressing adventure
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