Writers: Andrew Cosby, Michael A. Nelson
Artist: Greg Scott
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Two months ago when I reviewed the first issue of X Isle, I described it as a blend of science fiction/horror movie plots that was trying to find its own voice. But I was wrong: rather than seeking originality, the writers seem perfectly comfortable stealing Hollywood clichés as if they were trying to sell it to hack director Michael Bay.
“Don’t you find it all so fascinating . . .”
“We’re just gettin’ started.”
“I have a feeling it’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better.”
“I still can’t believe she’s dead.”
Worse than the soulless dialogue are the soulless characters, who aren’t the least bit more concerned about their drastic situation on a mysterious island than the clichéd motions they go through. The writers seem to at least acknowledge how contrived the situation is in their glossing over the typical fright and despair the characters ought to feel and moving right into the typical macho determination to find a way off the island first thing. Of course, their determination has them react to various paranormal creatures as if they’re just everyday pests that require a bullet to the head. Having just escaped from a sinking ship, they just happen to have a stockpile of powerful ammo on them to deal with suck beings.
And what would a hollow horror story be without plenty of one-dimensional characters. There’s the protagonist who just wants to do good no matter what – why have a reason? There’s the blonde woman whose job is to fulfill one of the men’s sexual needs, even through a freaky foot massage. There’s the black guy, who stands out because the other characters realize he’s black. There’s the redneck with the guns who likes to find any excuse to use them. There’s the redneck’s partner who may try to develop a conscious right when the protagonist needs the support. And who could forget the pudgy dork we’re supposed to feel sympathetic for because he’s a pudgy dork – aw!!!
Boom! Studios reminds me quite a bit of the late Crossgen: quality creators working on a variety of genres with worthy artists, like Greg Scott here, who would make wonderful comics if each series wasn’t an empty attempt to mimic a particular genre without having anything new to say. Even the meaningless title, X Isle, seems like nothing more than a cheap grab for brand recognition. But, you know, maybe Michael Bay would be proud.
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