As I read through Edison Rex, there was one thought that just kept tugging at my attention: this feels familiar.
I'm not the most avid reader of Superman comics, but I'll take notice when pretty much every bit of dialogue in the first few pages falls directly in line with All-Star Superman's portrayal of Lex Luthor. Luthor complaining that Superman's mere existence impedes his ability to save humanity is an interesting dynamic that Morrison used to foster his recurring theme of the limitations of binary thinking (in this case, the man/Superman binary). It was done well and is ground that you should be careful to tread on.
Rex, through the magic of comic book science, explains the origin and future of Valiant, the latter of which bears a striking similarity to Mark Waid's recently concluded Irredeemable. I stopped reading Irredeemable before Incorruptible came out, but from what I can tell, there are more similarities there too.
I started to tune out a bit here. Edison Rex seemed okay, I guess, but I don't know that I really need a comic that decided to mash up two of the most popular Superman stories of the last decade, even if it's told from the perspective of his nemesis. I'm sure there's a market out there for it, but I'm not really a part of it.
I'm glad I kept reading though, despite feeling like Edison Rex had a pretty tired premise, as it took a swift turn into a comic I wasn't really expecting.
It's here that you can see Chris Roberson's craft shining through. By taking cues from All-Star Superman and Irredeemable, he acknowledges the long history of the Superman-esque characters and you can probably assume that many of Rex and Valiant's conflicts bear a striking similarity to stories you already know. By the end of the first issue, you've got a meta-continuity that gives these characters a depth that you probably couldn't easily fit into 100 pages, let alone ten.
I don't know how I feel about Dennis Culver's pencils. There's certainly nothing overall displeasing by them, but his facial expressions seem limited to a handful of different opened mouths and/or raised eyebrows with some of the poses feeling a bit stiff too. It's serviceable, but I hope that the style is a choice to try to mimic the look and feel of some of the pulp heroes that Edison Rex seems to be inspired by.
Stephen Downer's colors feel inspired by the palette used in Superman Adventures, and if Roberson keeps up the humorous tone from the final page, it'll be a perfect fit.
Edison Rex was a bit of a roller coaster for me, but it ended on the high point of a hopefully comedic adventure comic that has me curious about where it's headed. And the price point is at the magical $1 that I can justify for digital content, so they'll probably have a hold of me for at least the first story arc.
David Fairbanks doesn't get many things right the first time. He studied physics in college, loves science, music, comics, poetry, movies, books and education pertaining to all of the above. He will talk your ear off about Grant Morrison and Ben Folds, has an indie bookshelf larger than his Marvel, DC and Vertigo ones combined and if he ever actually grows up, more than anything else, he wants to still be happy as an “adult,” whatever that is.