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Talent #1

Posted: Monday, May 15, 2006
By: Robert Murray



Writers: Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski
Artist: Paul Azaceta, Ron Riley (colors)

Publisher: Boom! Studios


Shadowy conspiracies! Airline disaster! Mysterious occurrences! Miracles! This book definitely starts out with a bang (or a Boom...never mind)! Talent #1 begins at a breakneck pace and never lets up throughout its 22 pages of story. What really struck me beyond the pacing was the writersí use of popular culture to craft this tale. Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski are obviously modern scholars of pop culture, particularly in regards to what is making America buzz right now. In the first part of this issue, it is obvious that the authors are looking to emulate the TV show Lost. Yes, if you have been following my reviews lately, it seems as if I see Lost in everything! Well, I think thereís a reason for that. Lost is a television phenomenon that is like a comic book in many ways, particularly the cliffhangers at the end of every episode (issue) and the constant questions and mysteries that are presented throughout. This is a comic presented on the small screen, and I think we will see a comic book adaptation sooner rather than later (please let it be written by Grant Morrison!). Anyway, my point is that most comic book writers are pop culture addicts, or they never would have gotten into comics in the first place. So, take a TV show writers obviously watch and enjoy, mix it with a writerís own vivid imagination, and Voila! Lost Casserole! Boom! Studios has pointed out Talentís similarities with Lost explicitly on their website, and I think this is a great way to generate interest in the title, especially if the same description is included in Diamond Previews.

Next, in the middle of this issue, we are clued in on a shadowy organization that obviously wants to eliminate the "miracle man" who survived the plane crash. Later, we learn that this group is somehow connected to the Catholic Church, since the main "shadowy" leader is a Cardinal. Hmm, can anyone say...Da Vinci Code? I donít know how long ago Golden & Sniegoski wrote this story, but it seems like perfect timing as the movie comes out this weekend. Or, could it be Boom!ís marketing strategy again? Another conspiracy, eh? Finally, the overall plot of the story has many similarities to the M. Night Shyamalan film Unbreakable. In fact, the plot is almost stolen from that movie, with a minor twist in the main characterís abilities that are unlike Bruce Willisís character. Nicholas Dane is the only survivor of a deadly accident who suddenly discovers abilities he never realized before? Iíll bet you thereís a twist in Issue #4...

Anyway, as amazing as this is going to sound, I found all of the apparent pop culture mimicry to be a little distracting. I could be wrong, but it looked to me as if Mr. Golden and Mr. Sniegoski were trying to overdo it a little here, emptying the whole toy bin just so the kids will play at their house. Also, I was a little frustrated by the overall dialogue in Talent #1. It was way too stiff and formalized to be believed, and in a comic book that boasts great realistic art by Paul Azaceta and effective coloring by Ron Riley, this ineffective dialogue was a little bit of letdown. Mr. Golden and Mr. Sniegoski are NOVELISTS, for goodnessí sake! Shouldnít they have treated the dialogue in Talent with similar care?

Despite my moaning and complaining, this was a very entertaining issue to read, and I will probably continue with this series. This is a slam-dunk concept that couldnít possibly fail in the first three issues of this series, but very well could be a let-down in the end if the writers donít keep their eyes on the ball. Still, my analytical comic reviewer persona aside, this is a title you should probably check out, because Issue #1 is a fun ride, and Iím sure the excitement will continue into Issue #2. Not exactly bargain priced at $3.99, but thatís an argument for another time.



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