December 18, 2013

Review -- IPSO FACTO #1

Ipso Facto #1

(J.R. Rothenberg / Jason Badower / Annette Kwok)
4 stars
Mosel Pearlman Ramirez is not who you think he is. A matter of fact, he's not who HE thinks he is either. Who is he? Well, according to the solicitation for Ipso Facto #1 on Comixology:
He was just another lovestruck Colorado kid, or so he always told himself. Then he woke up one day and found out the world was going to end -- unless he could remember who he really was.
That's a pretty heavy burden for any young man, especially for “just another second-semester-senior psyched to get the hell out.” This over use of hyphens and awesome alliteration aside, Mosel is your prototypical Campbell monomythic hero who, in issue one, is called to action by outside forces. He meets a character named Brezsny (who, I swear, looks exactly like a 21 Grams-era Sean Penn wearing an ascot), who tells him,  “This world needs you to remember who you are.
Into this mix throw an evil corporate entity called Tryum Corporation, an alien invasion (maybe), an alcoholic mother, a girlfriend that just had an abortion without telling him, a bunch of guys with helmets shooting rifles, and a fake ID to buy booze. Stir this all around and you've got mystery, intrigue, action, and, above all else, story.

Ipso Facto
I'm intrigued by this book. Through the use of flash-forwards, side-stories, yellow rectangles of first-person voice-overs, and straight-up narration this issue sets the stage for some large storytelling. It's got the overalls to cover something expansive, while still hooking its thumbs into the comforts of the Hero's Journey trope. Writer J.R. Rothenberg lays it on a little thick at times, but his main character is a just-about-to-graduate high school boy (see, I can over-hyphenate too!) – and anyone who's every spent more than twenty minutes with one of those creatures can tell you they ALL lay it on a little thick sometimes.
It's what they do.
Normally I'm a little wary of the work of the sort of digital artist who seems to have been inspired by the work of  Greg Land, and Jason Badower kind of wears that sheet to the meeting, but with the help of colorist Annette Kwok, he's somehow able to stave off my aversion. Maybe it's because there is a sense of playfulness to his work, like he's not taking himself seriously with a seriousness of intent. Or maybe it's his choice of perspective and angles in many of his panels. Or maybe it's because while his characters seem traced or overlayed, they retain a humanness. You can read their emotions without being reminded of actors acting.
I just re-read Keith Silva and Justin Giampaoli's breakdown of what makes a good first issue for a comic book series, which you should read too. Ipso Facto #1 seems to hit almost all the requirements. If this is true, ipso facto, we should expect a very entertaining series.
Oh, and hey – they got one of those groovy comic book trailers for the series:
While this book is available on Comixology, it also seems that you can download a free copy of issue #1 on theirwebsite.

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