Current Reviews


Sunday Slugfest - Sequence #1

Posted: Sunday, September 11, 2005
By: Keith Dallas

Writer: Adam Vermillion, Jason Sorrenti, Todd Monk
Artists: Marco D’Alfonso, Mike Del Mundo, George Athanasiou

Publisher: Bright Anvil Studios

Average Rating:

Ariel Carmona Jr.:
Kelvin Green:
John Hays:

Ariel Carmona Jr.

Plot: 1: Alan Belknap, sickened by crime in his hometown, has taken the guise of the Blue Sabre. While he ponders what an upcoming weekend will bring for his super hero alter ego during a class, Belknap overhears the details of a drug sale. The teacher sends the would be drug dealers to detention for disrupting the class, and they reluctantly leave, but not before harassing Belknap. Later that evening at home, while preparing for a night of crime busting, the young hero vows to avenge a decade of abuse from his tormentors. While on patrol scouting a neighborhood park known for its underage criminal activities, Sabre converses with a little boy who questions why he's perched on his rooftop on a rainy night. He retorts he's a professional crime fighter while warning the kid he can't come along. Their discussion is interrupted when he tumbles on the slick roof and is too late to disrupt the nearby drug deal.

2. Local superhero Noble and Starkind, a superhuman level terrorist, are engaged in a battle which is tearing up the city as reported by an ongoing newscast. Autograph seekers approach the hero thinking the melee has concluded, but Starkind sneaks up behind Noble and the battle resumes. After finishing off Starkind, Noble flies off as the newscast continues to report on his heroism and mysterious manners. Meanwhile, Noble’s life support systems are failing and he crashes back into a business which is obviously a front for some kind of covert headquarters. Shockingly, the hero isn't what
he seemed at all!

3. Ghost hunting Kali has taken off to Coney Island for a day of fun, her guardian Preston is none too happy about this development and reminds her via phone that she has a responsibility to the agency to stop evil in its various forms. Her dog, “Princess,” has other ideas and chases a ghost out of the subway train. Only, it turns out it isn’t a ghost at all but a little boy who’s been led astray from his mom while on a trip to Coney Island

Comments: This comic is split into different sequences; maybe that is where
the title comes from. Sadly, I wasn’t impressed by any of them. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with the stories themselves, except that they don’t involve original ideas and are very undeveloped. The stories end rather abruptly, as if they might be continued in future issues, or as if the reader is left to imagine every conclusion. Yet, they aren’t very engaging to begin with, so the effort would be hardly worth it. The battle sequence between Noble and his foe was probably my favorite, and there is a superhero aesthetic permeating the first two sequences, but the third tale with its mix of Scooby Doo and B.P.R.D. influences seems oddly out of place. I realize this book is somewhat of a showcase and strives at being a type of mini anthology, but it just doesn’t work for me. Storywise, the conclusion to the middle chapter labors too much at hinting there will be a surprise ending, so when it finally arrives, it’s less effective. It reads as if the first sequence is aiming for a balance between comedy and action, and though the interaction between the little kid and Sabre is mildly amusing, the payoff at story’s end is not redeeming enough. Bonus points to the writers for using the splash page in an entertaining way to handle the exposition in the last story, but neither the heroine nor the conflict presented is very appealing. The fact she carries an M-Pod makes her contemporary but doesn’t necessarily transcend into being cool. The artwork is satisfactory all around, but the lettering in the captions is difficult to read. I am not sure if it’s due to the .pdf file pixelating the fonts, or because the fonts chosen and the way they are presented are packaged in a manner which makes it almost impossible to discern what’s been written.

Final Word: Though very unpolished, the seeds for interesting future stories are here, but we need more original superhero fare because I get the sense I have read most of the material here, and under more engaging and entertaining circumstances.

Kelvin Green

One of the many perks of writing reviews for an established site like SBC is that through the generosity of publishers, I get access to titles I’d never have heard of otherwise, let alone buy for myself. It’s a joy to read these titles which break away from the norm; freed from the symbiotic, mutually parasitic relationship the superhero publishers and their fans are locked into, the independent publishers can tell the stories they really want to tell.

So it’s a bit disappointing that Sequence #1 provides two superhero stories and a Buffy clone; all are done well, but there remains a sense of wasted opportunity. The fact that the individual “Sequences” are so well done makes the problem all the worse as there’s obvious talent on show there that seems wasted on telling stories that could be read elsewhere.

Perhaps part of the problem is overcrowding; two stories may have had more room to breathe and better define themselves than the three here can. “Noble” comes across as somewhat truncated, sandwiched between the other two stories, and while it appears to be a simple twist-in-the-tail, er, tale, it may have been more compelling if given more room. Similarly, if “Noble” were dropped, perhaps the other stories could make use of the extra page count to develop themselves. All that said, 2000AD routinely delivers satisfying storytelling in smaller chunks than these stories, so perhaps the concepts on show aren’t so strong after all. Or perhaps the creators are merely unused to the anthology format as the smaller space can be a tricky challenge to storytelling skills. 2000AD also benefits from a strong editorial style, but Sequence feels more like a loose association of like-minded creators and more editorial direction may have helped to give the comic more punch as a whole.

Sequence is not a bad comic by any means, but it is a shame to see superheroics of a rather generic sort, and individual stories that, due to either a lack of compelling central concepts or an unfamiliarity with the specific requirements of anthology storytelling, fail to stand out. There’s considerable talent here, but more thought needs to be applied to what exactly the creators want to do with it; simply stuffing together a number of fluff pieces (strong as they are in execution, none of the stories here seem to really be about anything) isn’t good enough. Harsh perhaps, but these creators can do better, and I hope to see them do so in future issues.

John Hays

Sequence is a comic that features three characters, each with his or her own story to tell. The first character is Blue Sabre, a high school student who seeks to eliminate crime in his home town, but is having a bit of trouble adjusting to being a superhero. The second character is Noble, an immensely strong, silent superhero with no physical equal, but hides a shocking secret. The third character is Kali the Ghost Hunter, a little girl who reluctantly hunts ghosts while trying to do anything but.

Out of all three stories, I think Blue Sabre was my favorite because it has the smoothest dialogue throughout the story. The reader can easily slide into the shoes of Allan Belknap as he struggles through the various annoyances of daily high school life, while secretly planning his own nightly escapades as Blue Sabre. As a high schooler, though, Allan might eventually need to reevaluate his sense of justice, as his latest mission just happens to involve going up against a couple of guys that gave him a hard time at school. Granted, he intends on going after them for drug dealing, but it will still be interesting to see how his future decisions play out with respect to justice vs. revenge. Not much happened in this issue, but I can get past that since it’s a first issue and also has to share page space with two other stories. In future issues, however, I’d love for that little mini Blue Sabre to actually pop up in the story itself every once in a while to hassle Allan like a little Mxyzptlk! The art reminded me a bit of DC’s Impulse series from back in the day, with just a hint of clean anime style. Overall, it’s a solid start.

Noble really threw me. For ninety percent of the story I kept thinking, “alright, when is something actually going to happen? All they’re doing is fighting each other.” I thought the art was very good, providing with very detailed facial expressions. It wasn’t until the last page that I finally learned about the big twist in the story, which really saved everything before it because issue two is bound to be more interesting knowing who’s really behind Noble. Great hook, but bland buildup to it.

The third story…, well for one thing there wasn’t even a title so I don’t know exactly what to call it. The art was excellent, with the penciled hair details really catching my eye. Plus, you’ve got to love pugs; they’re so ugly, they’re cute. However, the story…, if you could call it that…, left much to be desired. Nothing of any substance really happened. She didn’t catch any ghosts. She didn’t go to Coney Island. She didn’t help the boy find his parents. I just didn’t get a good feel for what the story is really about, other than the idea of her being a reluctant ghost hunter. Weakest of the three.

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