Brain Boy #1
By Fred Van Lente, R. B. Silva, Rob Lean, & Ego
Dark Horse Comics have recently started to introduce a number of superhero books to their lineup. Although they are better known for their horror titles and books like Hellboy, Conan, and Star Wars, if Brain Boy is any indication, they know what they’re doing in this department. The original mini-series featuring this character was published by Dell Comics in the 1960’s. Although short-lived, the staff at Dark Horse clearly saw the potential for this book and is off to a great start with their revamp.
Matt Price is an incredibly powerful telepath who was raised by researchers at Albright Industries. He is now loaned out to the U.S. Secret Service in order to provide additional security for powerful politicians. The book could have been overly outlandish, but Van Lente has constructed a terrifically down-to-earth story led by a protagonist who has a real sense of sincerity. A lot of the story in issue #1 is told through Matt’s internal dialogue, and this not only perfectly explains everything to the reader to provide an excellent basis to jump into this story, but the writing feels real and natural. Frankly, Matt just seems like a nice, interesting guy who has been through some wacky stuff.
Aside from the overall natural feel of the protagonist’s character, Brain Boy #1 also possesses some aspects of an exciting espionage thriller. There are hints of conspiracy surrounding the true fate of Matt Price’s parents and the company which he was raised by. The brief glimpses of this aspect of Brain Boy are incredibly tantalizing and have set up some very exciting potential directions for this book to take in future issues.
The artistic team of Silva, Lean, & Ego do such a great job on the visuals in this first installment. Every panel is incredibly robust and well-detailed. All of the characters look wonderful in every panel, with some excellent use of facial expressions. The backgrounds themselves are well-detailed and often fully-realized. Furthermore, the inventive use of shadowing and other visual effects really help demonstrate not only the use of Matt’s powers, but also the dynamic nature of the action sequences. The colors serve to amplify each of these points, with incredibly rich detailing and realism inherent throughout most of the book, with some very interesting palette choices underlying some of the more action-oriented scenes.
Admittedly, many aspects of Brain Boy have been done before within the medium of comic book story-telling. However, there is something about the way each aspect has been pieced together with the rest of the book that makes it feel fresh and new. Issue #1 was not only a terrific introduction to this story, but was also an incredibly exciting and quick-paced initial installment. If the rest of this series maintains the sensibilities present throughout #1 then this is a book to watch out for.