Review: Argonauts #5A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
A group of time-displaced heroes find themselves in the mysterious Argon City for reasons completely unknown. When the heroes are displaced to Argo City, chaos ensues, people get hurt and disappear. The powerful beings find that all the things that made them great and powerful and interesting and remarkable have dissipated. They're stuck in a new and completely world, an unpredictable world where they know nothing about what's going on around them. Even the lead heroes find that all their assumptions are wrong about the world that they find themselves in. How do these heroes react? What do they do when confronted with a life that they'd never predicted or wanted? And what makes these beings Argonauts?
Those who want their small press superhero comics with a bit of a twist will want to check out Keith Dallas's Argonauts. This series is an unpredictable roller-coaster ride. Argonauts brings readers interesting characters who find themselves forced to fight evil that they simply don't understand at all. What is good and what is bad in this world? How are they supposed to react? And what choices do heroes make when their life no longer has grounding?
In a way, this is the flip side of something like Crisis on Infinite Earths, which brought characters together from different times and places but assumed that the heroes would be able to figure out what needed to be done to win the day. Here the heroes take a much more logical path, feeling bewildered and confused and lost when confronting something that's completely different from their perceptions. There's even an open question about what it means to win the day when everything is completely scrambled up in thoroughly unpredictable ways.
More than that, these characters have real soul and passions to them. The relationship between Argo City's hero, Dart, and his wife, Jennifer, has complexity to it, and the story of Karina and Davin, the time-displaced couple from 12th century Norway, shows a deep passion between the two characters that shows a real love and affection between them. No matter the hardship, Karina and Davin are the most important people in the world to each other. Even Utnir, a seemingly mindless mountain giant, begins to acquire depth at the end of this issue as we learn about a real tragedy in his world as well.
T.G. Sangalang joins Dallas for the first time with this issue, and his more gritty style is a bit jarring when compared with Robert Saunders's slicker style in previous issues. But the story is getting grittier and more intense the deeper we get into it, so the style works well here. Sangalang is effective at building the drama and emotion of this story, which makes me want to come back for future issues.
There are quite a few small press super-hero comics out these days. Argonauts stands out from the crowd with its interesting backstory and really soulful characters.