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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Identity Comics Breaks the Value Threshold with Verge #1

Verge Cover 2

“My what big sadistic eyes you have grandma…”

 

You wouldn’t know it by casually striking up a conversation with me, but I’m actually a fairly ardent fan of comic books (aka graphic novels to the more sophisticated and politically correct geek.)  I don’t usually publicize this fun-fact mainly due to the not-so-grownup stigma that those of the opposite sex might associate this thirtysomething still-single male with.  Although, many might argue that parading around in a cowboy hat with toys strapped to every limb of my body just to grab some milk at the market might be a larger issue than taking in some brightly colored drawings of adults fighting crime in tights.

With that said, it should be noted that the comic books of today have evolved and no longer are they just about caped crusaders or masked men.  Comics have become just like any other form of media in that they can be about whatever their artistically ingenious creators can concoct within the depths of their demented minds.  The proof of that can be witnessed from the success of a book like The Walking Dead, whose anti-heroes and take on the collapse of humanity have spun off a top-rated TV series and more merchandise than you can shake a bank account at.

 

Walking Dead Comic

“I like stuff and things.”

 

That brings me to Identity Comics’ inaugural launch of their graphic periodical, simply titled, Verge.  The title itself isn’t necessarily descriptive to what lies beneath the cover, but that’s because you get more than one story.  That’s right; you don’t just get one story, but count ’em four different and totally unique tales for the price of one.  Being a sucker for deals, I would be more than satisfied receiving four separate story arcs told with stick figures and finger paints, so the fact one actually gets a quartet of tales with decent production values under one roof is enough for Verge to make a case for itself right out of the gate.

 

Verge Cover

What If the Silver Surfer went into construction?

 

So does Verge suffer from the dreaded mantra of quantity over quality, or is it able to deliver entertainment on four different unique levels?  I will provide my thoughts and a quick take on each of the included stories to see if this first issue release is worth your hard earned time and paycheck.  As always, I will leave plot summaries to a minimum and spoilers to nil.

 

Concrete Shoes

Concrete Shoes

“Wait, who told you about the touching?”

 

My personal favorite of the bunch, Concrete Shoes, takes the reader 40 years into the future where a mutant like concrete being has appeared to cause a little murderous havoc.  The appropriately named Gumshaw is introduced to us as a private dick (I always wanted to type that) who is unknowingly pulled into the rock-like monster’s destructive trail.  The feel of Concrete’s future dystopia is very much based on 50’s detective noir and since it happens to be one of the Outlaw’s more beloved genres, I was immediately drawn to it (pun intended).  On that same token, the black and white art fit the style of this story exceptionally well and the writing was also strong, specifically when it involved the wisecracking gumshoe, Gumshaw.

 

El Fantasmo: Legend of Tiger Ghost

El Fantasimo

Of Mice and Men… who don’t like to get sick.

 

This tale of a boy and his rat surprised me in that I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  Sickness is spreading quickly in the tropical local of the main characters, and blame is being put on the rodent population, specifically one little fur-ball that’s running around the village like he owns the place.  Much to the dismay of a young village boy named Mateo, eventually the rat is caught and sentenced to be put to death by the “It’s a witch” town horde.  This leads to a very mysterious chain of events and perhaps the most intriguing cliffhangers of the entire book.  El Fantasmo had a very Lost like feel to it in that it raised a multitude of questions with little to no answers.  While some may not enjoy their comics in this format, the build-up and ending alone has me eagerly awaiting the next episode.

 

The Sheet

Sheet

“What do you mean you bought your sheets from Amazon!?!”

 

Yes, you read that correctly, The Sheet.  You know, like the things you buy at Bed Bath & Beyond to keep all of your dying skin cells from forming a tiny civilization on your mattress.  Except when you buy sheets at the above mentioned retailer, they generally don’t enter every orifice of your body and squeeze out all of your innards (not unless you buy the ones on clearance.)   That’s the premise behind The Sheet, an entity that seemingly takes vengeance on the scum of society when law enforcement can’t.  The initial installment of this series was interesting, although my main concern would be if a series like this has enough legs (or corners) to go the distance before the thread count wears out.  Nonetheless, the art was done very well, and again, the black and white lent well to the overall feel of the story; because who doesn’t love fresh white linens?

 

The Girl Made of Ice

Girl Ice

Don’t try pinching yourself, it doesn’t work.

 

In most instances, one would think I’d leave the best for last.  However, in this case I’m leaving the strangest for last.  While the Outlaw has no problems using his imagination or thinking outside the box, The Girl Made of Ice seemed to be outside of my pharmaceutical prescription allowance.   Yeah, it’s that weird.  From the images, to the dialog, to the random semblance of events, this is not for those who like to understand what they are reading.  The underlying good news is that the art is some of the best of the book and the creators seem to have a master plan, that of which is to put together the strangest story possible and bring people back every issue out of sheer curiosity.  At least, I hope that’s the plan.  Lord knows I’d like to learn more about what is going on in the minds of the creators.  Although on second thought…

Outside The Girl Made of Ice (which gave this Outlaw “sleep made of nightmares”), Identity Comics’ creator/artist/writer Lars Canty (you don’t want to see the size of his business card), has launched a solid set of unique and entertaining stories with its inaugural issue of Verge.  As I mentioned before, where else are you going to get four solid graphic novels for the price of one?  Well maybe make that three solid stories and one that will have you pondering why large insect-looking creatures have human heads hanging out of their mouths.

 

4 Spurs

 

Verge #1 can be purchased directly from Amazon:

“Boxed set with all covers” w/ t-shirt:

http://www.amazon.com/Verge-Limited-Edition-Collectors-Box/dp/B00H7QW7JM

 

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