Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Review: War of the Worlds: Second Wave #1

War of the Worlds: Second Wave #1
by Michael Alan Nelson & Chee
Boom! Studios, $2.99

The basic story of War of the Worlds is probably familiar to just about everyone, if not through H. G. Wells' original novel than via one of he many other media adaptations: Martians invade Earth and wreck destruction upon humanity until finally they are wiped out in a rather anticlimactic fasion via common Earth germs.

This first issue of this new Boom! Studios series retells the basic WotW story, set in modern day middle America, from the perspective of Miles, a self-professoed unheroic suburban everyman who just wants to survive. In the process Miles loses his wife to the Martian's onslaught, and he vows revenge. He may get his chance, as the last page of the comic reveals (and I don't think I'm spoiling anything here, as it is the main premise of the series) that a week later the Martians return.

Therein lies the main problem with this first issue: it's all set-up. Worse, it's set-up that we basially already know. The interesting story, the *real* story, is what happens during the Second Wave, and how Miles will respond. While the set-up is important, it probably should have been condensed way down to four pages or so, and perhaps moved into a flashback.

As for the art, the uni-named Chee has solid storytelling abilities, and during the action scenes brings a good level of tension to the story. There's room for improvement with the figurework, especially in the case of Miles' wife Gina, drawn in many panels looking more like an 11-year-old girl than a twenty-something woman (which caused this reader at least a bit of confusion in the opening).

On the whole, War of the Worlds: Second Wave is off to a somewhat flawed but promising start. It's hard to judge, given that the real story doesn't kick off until the last page. But I'm interested enough to want to see where the story goes from here, so I'm looking forward to the real story kicking off in the second issue.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)

A review copy of this comic was provided by the publisher.

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