Monday, February 20, 2012

Soulfire #7

One of the ways comics have changed today - some will say for the better, some will disagree - is how they bring new readers up to speed.

Before the 1960s it wasn't necessary to recap anything - there was no real continuity, and the characters and stories were straightforward enough that any reader could easily figure out the basics.

In the '60s, '70s, '80s and into the '90s, continued stories were introduced and continuity became more important, so it was sometimes necessary to include a short recap at the beginning of each story to explain what was happening to any new reader. It was usually presented as part of the story, and while it was sometimes awkward, it was efficient.

These days, most companies prefer to use a text page at the beginning of each issue (or on the inside cover) to manage that. I usually skip over it if I've been reading along, but if it's a comic I haven't been reading - like Soulfire, which I'm about to start talking about, honest - then I'll use it to sort things out.

But even that isn't a lot of help here, as the recap reels off several names of characters, but doesn't really tell me the basics. It needs the five "W's" and an "H," which we were taught in Journalism class that every good story lede should include: who, what, where, when, why and how.

So we're introduced to quite a few characters, and it took me most of the issue to sort them out (the confusion isn't helped by the fact that two characters look a lot alike).

The story is easy enough to sort out - it's your basic "good vs. evil" contest, with the evil Onyx attacking, using a huge dragon made of magical energy, and the good guys fighting back with mixed results - especially when the counterattack unleashes an even greater menace.

The story by J.T. Krul is straightforward and moves quickly, but again, as a newbie, I needed a bit more help sorting out the characters and what all the fighting was about.

The art is by Jason Fabok, and it's quite good - I especially like the design of the dragon and the dark monster, and he draws beautiful women.

The foundation is here for some good stories, but I'll have to track down the earlier issues (or pick up some of the collections) to sort it all out.

The old saying in the business was, "Every issue is someone's first issue." That's why it's always important to keep the stories accessible - you don't want to scare off the reader before the story has a chance to hook them.

Grade: B


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