Saturday, October 13, 2007

Simon Dark #1

Steve Niles & Scott Hampton

From DC Comics comes a new hero who prowls the streets of Gotham City, trying to outdo Batman in the scare-the-shit-out-of-villains department. Steve Niles, the creator of 30 Days of Night, appropriately writes an offbeat story for a hero who seems to be an urban legend of sort, protecting the innocent with a touch of the grotesque. Scott Hampton's dark panels and atmosphere compliment this book very nicely, and I have to say there's a sequence early on showing Simon Dark decapitate a man that is done especially well, and I think captured the tone of the book upfront. And Simon Dark is an interesting character, the first homeless superhero that I know of, for instance, who asks for food after saving someone's life. Kind of weird, but just look at the guy: He has Leatherface's mask, Freddy Krueger's sweater (along with girls jumproping while singing a creepy little rhyme about Simon, like right out of A Nightmare on Elm Street), and he has this whole Jack the Ripper vibe with his blood-soaked wire and gloves. And not surprisingly, he seems to be a bit touched in the head. All of this makes for a very quirky book and character, but it does seem to be a bit forced, and I feel like I've seen these elements before, and not just in the horror films I mentioned above. While there are creepy moments speckled throughout the issue, there are also bland secret society-type villains and little of interest beyond Simon Dark's quirky nature which, when all is said and done, is a little too silly and over-the-top, particularly with the concluding scene. It's hard to tell if this series will be any good having read one issue, but it definitely needs to give readers a little more below the surface. C+

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