ADVANCE REVIEW! Hoax Hunters #1 will go on sale Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
I'm a sucker for monster stories, which means Michael Moreci, Steve Seeley and Axel Medellin's new series for Image already had me in its pocket simply based on the premise. The idea is that a TV show called Hoax Hunters, which sees a trio of reporters go round the world proving conspiracies and monster sightings to be false, is actually the opposite. The team's agenda is to cover up the actual real existence of monsters and conspiracies, however best they can.
This isn't the first issue of the series, though, so don't jump straight to the issue thinking you're getting a clean start. Prior to this was a Hoax Hunters #0, which set up the premise a little more strongly than in this issue, and gave us a look at the whole cast. This time round we only have focus on two members of the team — albeit the two best characters, so no problem there. We have front-of-camera talent Regan and team leader Jack at the centre of attention here, with no real insight given into how the team operate. We're thrown straight into a mission, which is both good and bad.
It's good because origin stories are boring and I don't have much time for them. By getting straight to the meat of the story we're given a far more interesting — if vague — introduction to the cast of characters, and we get to see Jack's backstory unfold and weave into the monster-of-the-week format. This is how TV shows are scripted, with a different monster and adventure each time which allowed viewers the chance to see the lead characters deal with a variety of different threats, and see how they cope with differing circumstances and genre. Seeley and Moreci do a great job of making their two leads interesting and independent without spending too much time on exposition, and manage to race straight into throwing them up against a weird threat without the need to explain what's going on. The mysterious parts add to the story, instead of detract. We don't feel like things are being held back from us, like Lost used to do, but instead that they simply haven't been explained yet.
The immediate start is bad because a lot of the basic premise is ignored here, with a token page of Regan on camera, presenting her show, before the monster hunting begins. The zero issue was similar, in that we only got to see a little bit of the show before the comic switches attention to the behind-the-scenes aspects. Keeping these two segments apart from one another, with no intermingling of storylines, feels a little like a waste. If the idea of the series is that they present a TV show exposing frauds, whilst secretly covering up the very real monsters who exist; then why not delve more into both sides of these lives? There's very little world-building going on here, which may hurt the book in the long run. While the focus on characters and short-term monster-hunting is definitely the main appeal of the book, the series may struggle to find variation in the long term if it doesn't start to examine a wider scope.
But that's criticising the book for something which hasn't yet happened, and may never will. The main thing to focus on here is that Hoax Hunters, at least for the moment, is a solid read, with likeable lead characters and a premise which promises — and delivers — a lot of monsters. The humor is idiosyncratic and the storytelling is sound. It's a decent title at the moment, and we'll just have to wait and see what the future brings for the series.
Steve Morris is the head and indeed only writer for Comics Vanguard, the internet's 139th most-favorite comic-book website. You can find him on Twitter at @stevewmorris, which is mostly nonsensical gibberish you may enjoy or despise. His favorite Marvel character is Darkstar, while his favorite DC character is, also, Darkstar. He's on Team X-Men, you guys.