Imagine if Pokémon had more adult themes and you’d be getting on the right track with Gamma, a one shot single issue by Dark Horse Comics. We’re talking radiation blasting Pikachu people! You ready to bite? Is it good?
Gamma (One Shot) (Dark Horse Comics)
If you’re not a Pokémon fan that’s okay, because there’s enough here for anyone under the sun to chew on. I myself was never into the video game or cartoon series and it actually took me a bit to see the connection in this comic. That delay did bring a bit of confusion, but once I understood the connection I realized how clever the comic was.
The story opens with a man who’s famously known as a coward. He collects money by letting people punch him in the face. We soon learn he was the greatest monster trainer in the world who fought monsters that threatened cities as a career. The man was famous, a rock star even, but one day he lost his nerve and let all his monsters die in battle as he fled. This story is about conquering his cowardice.
Ain’t that little rodent cute?
The monsters in this comic are a little more bizarre and disturbing than the Pokémon creatures and that’s clearly on purpose. Imagine how grotesque some of them would be in the real world. You can’t get powers AND look good all the time! Our protaganist’s main monster, named Sparky, is very reminiscent of Pikachu. He has a plug for a tail, he has similar zapping powers and a cutesy look. Of course, when he does use his powers it’s a lot more violent than the kid friendly Pokémon and that’s part of the reason this comic is so much fun.
LEGO monster. Sweet!
While Erick Freitas co-writes this story with artist Ulises Farinas, it’s Farinas’ art that is the real star of the show. That’s not to knock the story per se, but ultimately his detailed yet cartoony lines will be remembered most. There’s something about this combo that makes a cutesy bear monster that is bleeding from the eyes that much more striking. Unfortunately there’s only one page with the monsters fighting, but you got to do yourself a favor and see them bleed and die in horrific ways. Man, that is a sight to see.
War torn but ready.
And that’s the rub. This story spends much too much time with a whining sad coward and not enough time with the hero that saved the world over and over. The concept of a downtrodden monster trainer is good, but there’s not enough monster battles. The monster battle that does take place, as short as it is, still makes the rest seem lesser and not as much fun. It’s a bit of a strike out, and maybe it’s possible Farinas was really just pitching this as a series but didn’t get an ongoing.
Are those Pokésquares?
- Unique and interesting art
- Nice story that should be enjoyed by all Pokémon fans
- Not enough monster battles
- The coward storyline runs on too long
The one major negative of this series is that it doesn’t have enough of the good stuff, which tells me it has potential for a sequel at the very least. Maybe that’s contingent on how this sells. If that’s true, go buy this now! The comic is a lot of fun and would be an interesting and compelling ongoing series. Unfortunately, a single issue isn’t enough to let the story and concept breathe. You’ll be left feeling the story is imbalanced, mostly because the best bits have yet to be said.
Is It Good?
Yes. A good story to be read in one sitting which will leave you wanting more.