Writer: Scott Reynolds
Artists: Tone Rodriguez, Wes Dzioba (colors)
Publisher: Ape Entertainment
As Iíve noted in other reviews Iíve written over the past year, there seems to be an abundance of zombie/vampire/survival horror titles on the market today. What started this trend? I canít really say, but the entire horror genre has produced some very good titles (The Walking Dead) and some very mediocre titles (Poison Elves). U.T.F. is a title that deserves to be placed in the good category because it nimbly combines horrific elements with some genuine dialogue and funny moments. Quite a combination, eh? As a matter of fact, the combination of elements produces a comic book that is a light read, yet contains potential for future storylines that will keep readers coming back for more. Less filling and tastes great? You betcha! U.T.F #1 is a fun comic book that mixes Army of Darkness with Oz for an entertaining thrill ride. Never thought youíd see those two titles together is a sentence, huh?
Before I discuss some of the story details that I thought were impressive, I have to discuss the wonderfully appropriate artwork by Tone Rodriguez. I have only seen his work previously in Violent Messiahs, but in both cases I thought his penciling was excellent. In U.T.F., Rodriguez combines gruesome scenes with heroic action to create some very satisfying visuals which should excite any comic book fan who flips through initially. All of his lines are clean, which might not work with most horror titles, but works here in conjunction with the lighter tone. Yes, there are many panels of pumped-up, spandex-clad men and women posing for "the camera," but I donít think any of these scenes detract from the overall enjoyment of the art. Plus, the facial expressions shown throughout, particularly the terrified guard and eager vampires early on, are very telling and convey the moods of the various characters effortlessly. And his drawing of George Bush is dead on! George Bush? As for the colors by Wes Dzioba, I think everything was appropriate for the mood of the issue, with alternating pages of dark and light colors creating a nice symbiosis with the story being told. Overall, U.T.F. #1 has a fine art team in control with a good sense of what this series is all about: fun and guts.
Yes, I did say "fun and guts"! To me, itís the perfect way to describe the tale being told by Scott Reynolds. From what Iíve read online, this is Reynoldsí first foray into comic book writing, after writing an episode of E-Ring for NBC. Well, from what I read in this first issue, Mr. Reynolds has a long career ahead of him! His dialogue is extremely well worded and paced, demonstrating an understanding of human speech that probably aided him with his television writing. Hip phrases are tossed about unrelentingly in conversation, and witty observations are constantly traded among the members of the Undead Task Force. Some of the quips are a little cliched and cheesy (ďWe got gameĒ or ďLock and loadĒ), but overall I get the feeling that Reynolds wants us to recognize his characters by the sometimes outlandish things that will come out of their mouths. As for the story itself, the pacing is fast but steady and enlightening without revealing all of its secrets. In fact, it is just about as perfectly constructed as a first issue can be. The only aspect Issue #1 really lacks is character development among the U.T.F. team, but that was probably deliberate on Reynoldsí part to keep the action moving smoothly. Iím sure the characters will be fleshed out in later issues, and Iím really excited to see the direction Reynolds takes the team.
The overall verdict? Buy this issue if you enjoy your comic book action and excitement with a heaping tablespoon of humor mixed in. But, be warned: the first issue contained numerous instances of racially derogatory dialogue which may be disturbing for sensitive readers. Also, donít let this issue get into the hands of kids: the scary, bloody imagery and foul language may be a little too intense for them. But, if youíre an adult seeking a fun ride for 3 bucks (No, thatís not a proposition!), then you canít go wrong with U.T.F. #1.
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