Saturday, September 10, 2005
Smoke & Mirror
Speakeasy Comics debuted another new comic this past week, Smoke & Mirror, from the writer behind their just-released Of Bitter Souls (Charles William Satterlee). I did not care for Of Bitter Souls, but Smoke & Mirror turned out much better in contrast, though it wasn't one of those debuts that blew my socks off. It was however, a good first issue. Overall, I liked the art. There were none of those panels that I just love in comics, the kind that make you stop and stare and just appreciate that one picture the artist portrayed, but the issue was certainly competently illustrated. The only scenes where things got a little out-of-hand were when Smoke was fighting his nemesis Bludgeon. There were moments where I had to interrupt the flow of the action to figure out exactly what was going on. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the action depicting the past, where Smoke's predocessor fought some bank robbers with his partner, Miss Mirrors. It was retro and really evoked that golden age comic feel for the few pages that the flashback spanned. The present-day Smoke also had a flashback, showing the point at which our hero becomes the hero, where the panels were bordered in curling gray smoke that I though looked really neat. But anyway, the story contained in this issue was very basic, setting up the status quo, introducing us to Smoke, the legacy behind him, and the lawyer that this hero becomes when he takes off his cape and cowl. It serves its purpose however, with a nice opening scene and a narrative that truly makes the experience alike to reading an older comic, when plenty of action was packed into a single issue. I think it also has a lot to do with the old-time style of superhero and the types of villains he fights, the type of life he leads. It had that cheesy feeling of a perfect hero without flaws who does good for the sake of doing good, but it was fun. One thing that stood out as rather poorly executed was the lawyer behind the hero. He delivered a really cheesy, bad speech that reminded me of what someone would think a lawyer would speak like if he watched too many episodes of Law and Order and didn't really catch the cool rhetoric used, so reverted to a high schooler's idea of what a lawyer should sound like. Very boring, very fake. If you want to read an excellent version of the superhero-doubling-as-a-lawyer take, read DC's Manhunter or Marvel's Daredevil. Speakeasy has yet to find its equivalent.