Writer: Josh Blaylock
Artists: Tim Seeley (p), Cory Hamscher (i)
Publisher: Image/Devil's Due
Alex Crane is a loser. He's been transformed into a big, red-skinned troll. He's hiding in a world where vampires, sprites, elves, and dwarves comprise the common populace. A powerful wizard is sending out hunters to find him. His girlfriend is at the mercy of his enemies. His ability to keep from bestial fits of destruction is marginal at best. He'd better get his act together.
In this issue, we come to a turning point in Alex's story. Throughout this series, Alex has been bumbling from one encounter to the next, a witless pawn of chance. All along the way, he's been full of self-pity and confusion. He's doing it again, pouting over his circumstances, when finally he realizes the danger in which his girlfriend, Mandy, may be.
Though he's lost in the strange world of Abaddon, Alex sets off to find her. His path is littered with troubles and confusions, from the dwarven police to his mysterious new rakshasa allies. But nothing will deter him. For once, he's going to help her.
"Lost in Abaddon" is an appropriate title for this story, packed with disjointed actions, bizarre characters, and an intricate plotline. Ambiguity and absurdity snowball into a compelling experience of this alien situation in which Alex finds himself entangled. Although the reader is lost in regards to the significance of the developing events, Alex's plight is captivating. Action and exploration keep the pages turning.
Unfortunately, Alex himself is not so engaging. He's a whiner and a fool; it's hard to empathize with him. This issue starts to give him some grit, but it doesn't go far enough to make him likeable. To make matters worse, his support cast is too shallow to shore up the weak protagonist. Molli, the little blue sprite that has befriended Alex, is a fun character, but she is definitely "sidekick" material. His new rakshasa allies look impressive, but some personality is needed.
The setting upstages poor Alex as the star of this issue. From slumming elven junkies to gruesome baby trolls, Abaddon is an extraordinary locale. It's a seedy place, in which various fantastic creatures live in a squalid "fantasy land" where the magic has long since vanished.
The art shares the strengths and weaknesses of the story. The action scenes are strong, easy to follow and fun. The setting is rich in detail and character. The characters look fine, but they don't convey much emotion, either in facial expression or stance. The overall coloring is appropriate to the filthy slums of Abaddon, unrelenting brown and gray. However, I felt that some occasional accent points, with stronger colors, could have been used to dramatic effect in both the action and character scenes.
In conclusion, this is a fun issue. Although the characters fall flat, the thrilling plot and engaging setting carry the story. I'm looking forward to the next issue.
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