Thursday, 18 June 2009

Flip The Page text review: Dark Reign Mr. Negative #1 (of 3)

Sometimes I'm lucky enough to get an opportunity to throw a review out there in time to not seem like I'm far behind the blogs people ACTUALLY read and as such here's my first review of a current comic: Mr. Negative #1 by Fred Van Lente and Gianluca Gugliotta.


Dark Reign has churned out a fair amount of material now, be it ongoing genius like the return of the Agents of Atlas or promising limited series like Dark Reign: Young Avengers. That isn't to say that the output has been perfect (Dark Avengers has been pretty mediocre so far and the current New Avengers content has been crappy despite what sales indicate), so will Mr. Negative's debut mini-series live up to the mostly great standards the new status quo has established?

Yes. No. Kinda.

Dark Reign: Mr Negative is the sort of comic that is hindered greatly by its expectations that whoever picks it up knows a fair amount about the current criminal hierarchy in Marveldom. The Hood is the new kingpin of crime and taking over other people's rackets, apparently including those of Martin Li, the billionaire philanthropist known to the public as the owner of the F.E.A.S.T. project (essentially a soup kitchen) and privately as Mr. Negative, Chinatown's crime lord. Understandably this sort of situation is negative for him-

*is shot for a horrible pun*

*dramatic music plays me off*

WAIT WAIT I'M NOT DEAD! Okay I promise no more awful puns or needless exposition. The point here is that without a knowledge about The Hood and Martin Li this series would rely a lot on you taking most information at face value, including the mysterious nature of Li's powers themselves. In fact it's safe to say that if you haven't read anything Marvel in a few years (or at least not read Spider-Man's Brand New Day) you'd be forgiven for thinking that this was just a new take on Genis-Vell, the second Captain Marvel. One where he appears to want to stab Spider-Man on the cover.

However if you DO know about the various characters involved then you're in for an undeniable treat. Fred Van Lente has proven to be the best writer to handle anything dark reign related and this trend has continued into Mr. Negative. The smaller aspects that would get ignored in a limited series this size by other writers shine through here, including a great summary of Martin Li's arrival in the United States, something that mostly circumvents any issue with not feeling a connection to the character (which I've established is difficult considering the reasonably presumptious failure to introduce or explain many of the aspects involved in the crime world). This is aided by some beautiful art from Gugliotta, an artist I have to shamefully admit I can't recall seeing anything from before. Whether this is because Gugliotta is new or I'm ignorant is unimportant, because this could be any artist and easily stand as an example of great work, especially when looking at Li's Mr. Negative form and the unsettlingly captivating White Rabbit.

I'm not sure what else I can say about this limited other than it's worth picking up for the more savvy Marvel fan, but newcomers could find it a confusing, if not FUCKING EXCITING, read.


BONUS: Some of you may have noticed that the cover is in a rather fitting negative and may be wondering "what does it look like when switched out of negative. Et voila:


1 comment:

  1. Tickle me interested, even if I don't know anything!