See all reviews of Reality Check (1)

If you’re an avid reader of comic books you’ve probably had a moment in your life when you’ve thought you could “I should do this. I’ve got the perfect idea.”

Of course, in hindsight your idea was probably a rehash of something you’ve read before. Much like Hollywood we pitch our ideas as a combo: Batman meets Friends, X-Men set during 10,000 BC…etc etc. Well, Image Comics has a series that plays around with all of those concepts. Is it good?


Reality Check #1 (Image Comics)


Written by Glen Brunswick, this comic is about a comic writer and artist who just broke out with a splashy new series: a Batman with lady problems type deal. Before any of that happens though, the comic opens with the writer/main protagonist, Willard, 3 months before he’s struck by a crushing writer’s block. He’s still trying to make it in LA, and goes to a local coffee place to draw women. It seems to inspire him, or at least make him feel less lonely.


So this is a little creepy.

The story naturally cuts between Willard now, his hero dark hour taking on crime, and Willard in the past. Much cred needs to go to Brunswick for balancing all these elements, especially when we learn about Willard’s sad loss of a family member.

The story is as meta as it comes, as the cover gives away the twist ending. Dark Hour is real, escaped Willard’s imagination, and probably needs to get back in his head so Willard can write issue #2 of his now hit series. Much of the entertainment in this issue comes from Willard’s story as an aspiring comic book creator, his past, and his hopes and dreams. So far the hero Dark Hour, hasn’t had much beyond showing his odd relationship with women.


Won’t somebody think of the cat videos!?

The art by Viktor Boydanovic is good as he changes up the layouts throughout to keep things interesting. The design of Dark Hour reminds me a lot of Nite Owl, but I think that’s more because he’s supposed to look generic more than anything. The inking is a little too dark for my tastes, especially for what this story is going for. It’s all set in the real world, but even Willard’s pages, in Los Angeles no less, are dark and kind of brooding. I’m not sure this series has found its identity yet as far as looks, but for all intents and purposes it tells the story nicely.


Uh oh…

7.0

  • Interesting meta concept at work
  • Introduction of character is solid
  • What is this book trying to do?

Introduction of characters and premise is done well, but I’m not sure what the concept is trying to accomplish just yet. This issue introduces Willard nicely, so we’ll know what to expect from him in coming issues, but Dark Hour doesn’t seem to have an identity besides being a cliche. Maybe that’s the point.

It’s really too early to tell what this series has to offer. It has the meta element of a comic book creator’s hero popping up in the real world, but what that hero is looking for is unclear. The back story also seems to suggest this will become a romantic book, but the inking and story so far is too dark to see this as anything but a sad sap creative type learning who he is. And the superhero by his design comes to life…for some reason?

Is It Good?

Yes, if you’re looking for a good character study. The concept is introduced but it’s too early to say what this book is going to be about yet.