Our pal Kit sometimes write for the site! This is one of those times.
*This is the first review from a spotlight we’re going to be doing on Hound Comics, a private publishing company with their own ongoing comic series and web series. We’re going to be reviewing first issues of some of their comic series over the next few weeks. You can buy issue #1 of ‘The Revival’ here.*
“It’s been five years since the war began. Three since the war ended. And longer than anyone can remember since anyone had a decent cup of coffee.” – The Revival describing my idea of hell.
Time for our first review of a Hound Comics comic! This time I’ll be getting my teeth into The Revival: The Red Age, written and drawn by Tom Kyzivat. Why did I pick this one? To be honest I just saw the title and thought it sounded cool. For my review I’ll use the following criteria:
- The Concept,
- The Plot
- The Characters,
- The Artwork.
What we will be getting into, as you may imagine from the quote is a post-apocalyptic world where a rag tag bunch of soldiers of circumstance struggle for survival. Also, there’s no more good coffee. Hell, I wouldn’t last a day without my regular caffeine fix, I’d be screwed!
The Concept: As I’ve already said this is a post-apocalyptic set up, there’s been some kind of large scale war (global I assume?) that’s left the world blighted and any survivors just scraping by. The first page describes Patriarch, some kind of mysterious authoritative figure who it seems people listened to. Patriarch is now dead. This concept itself doesn’t get picked up too much more during this first comic, which I like, it adds an air of mystery to whatever’s happened to this world and leaves you wanting more.
The first page also sets up a bit of a magic vs technology deal for this world, which I imagine may play out a little like Saga. As I love Saga, this is a good thing. Again, this isn’t picked up too much during this first issue, but it does help set your expectations and add a little flavour to the world.
As for the characters it’s the scrappy crew doing their best to get by in a desolate world. Their dynamic very much feels like Firefly, which I’m very sure provided some inspiration for this.
For a concept score. 8.5/10.
The Plot: As with many comic book the first few pages are spent introducing first the world, and second the lead characters. This is done well I think, the world is shown from the perspective of the main character (Red) which both fleshes her out and sets up the world itself. Once you get a feel for who’s who the team set out on a raiding mission to pick up supplies. You discover bits of the world as they go, you’re introduced to ‘Cabbage Heads’ – a clone army of The Engine, the hopelessness of the world – delivered quite naturally throughout the comic book. The exposition is generally done well, a lot is put across to the reader without being too in your face or ‘here is why things are like this’.
The story itself is pretty simple for a single issue, which is natural for a first comic, it leaves you wanting to know more about the big questions and gives you time to get to know the characters.
Plot score then, it’s a solid start. 8/10.
The Characters: There’s quite a few you’re introduced too this issue so many of them don’t get too much more development than their clear archetype. Even so you do get at least a little time to get a feel for who each of them are.
Red – Our captain and main character. You get to know her pretty well over the first few pages while she describes the world. She seems to be serious in all that she does and apparently has a taste for coffee (worth at least an extra point for me!). She could go either way, with an interesting back story and some decent challenges to come along she could end up an excellent character, though there is a risk she could end up the boring one if she isn’t explored properly. For Red I’d say 8/10.
Tater – the Engineer who probably features the least in the comic. He’s a background character for the first issue but seems to be a bit older than the rest, providing a bit of a father figure to the crew it seems. He’s off to a solid enough start, but there’s much more to go here, so for Tater I’m thinking 6.5/10.
Woods – the Scout. I very much like his design, he’s been given a unique way of talking and I think a lot of personality is packed into both his appearance and his actions. He’ll likely be the butt monkey for jokes and stuff going forward but that’s often needed in these sorts of stories. 8/10.
The Pessimist – her Lieutenant. For starters he’s a bear, bears are cool. He’s the muscle and serious one of the group. He has a cool design but like many of his archetype his stoic nature means we don’t know him too well yet. Still, he gets bonus points for being a bear. So 8/10.
Finally we have Rainbow – the demolitions expert, T&A, fourth wall-breaker and comic relief of the group. She does provide some much needed colour to the comic and it’s the sort of story where having a character who knows how to smile does make a positive impact. Unfortunately I felt it was done a bit too heavy handedly at times. Good in theory but maybe dial Rainbow down a little next time. 7/10
Character score – For an overall average: 7.5/10.
The Artwork: Overall the art very much gets the tone right, the world is bleak and browny-red, the characters look good, Rainbow does add some much needed colour (and enjoys doing it!). I also really like how the Cabbage Heads speak in bar codes. Unfortunately, the faces do look a little off at times I feel. Red’s nose just kinda bugs me…
Still, the art is solid overall. I’d say Art Score – 7/10.
I enjoyed this comic. This is a good start to a series and leaves you wanting to know more. There are some minor character points I think need ironing out, but hopefully that’ll come with time/character development. There are some great ideas here and it’s worth checking out! The average is 7.75/10. I’ll bump that to 8!
Final Score – 8 Decent cups of coffee out of 10