Mad scientist Archibald and American superhero Charles Baxter will seemingly never be at peace. They’ve been throwing down since the 1950s with no end to their perpetual scuffling in sight. But how do you show decades worth of struggle in a 24 page comic? Is it good?
Never Ending #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
For those of who want more details about Never Ending from the creators themselves, check out my interview with D.J. Kirkbride and Adam P. Knave:
The story is pretty simple, actually. A meteorite hit a young southern orphan while he was repairing a car. He discovers that he is incredibly mighty, able to lift the damaged car to free himself, and can fly. Some readers might be turned off by this character’s likeness to Superman (small farm town boy gifted with super strength, invulnerability, and flight), but don’t include yourself in their numbers.
The rest of the story follows our hero in a number of different times and introduces us to his friend-turned-nemesis, Archibald.
I find that this story is a lot more like Watchmen than Superman, actually. It has the same feel of a universe that is fully realized and realistic; a world you would like to explore but one that still remains bleak and somewhat depressing. This is not an upbeat story; instead, it’s a story of loss and upset hiding in a colorful comic book.
The organization of Never Ending is what will distinguish it as a series. The story takes place in many different times, the most recent date being the future in 2036, and the earliest in 1950. Though the times they are a changin’, the one aspect that remains constant is our two combatants, which make the comic almost seem like an episode of Lost. Although I might usually get hung up about the fact that the creative team chose not to give one of the eras any attention, for the purpose of this book, that decision works well. The least developed of the story threads is the one that takes place in 1998, which also seems like the most interesting.
The dialogue is good enough — nothing groundbreaking but so far commendable for what the book is trying to accomplish. I am a sucker for retro-sounding, old school banter and this book is definitely satisfying in that regard. The only reason I’m not totally sold script-wise is the dialogue for the two more recent eras; it seems just a smidge forced.
My (light) criticism of this book’s dialogue notwithstanding, I enjoyed the emotion behind the characters’ words. Some of the dilemmas and problems the characters have to debate are very genuine and provide interesting outlooks into the characters’ mindsets and demeanor.
- Great organization and storytelling
- Intriguing characters
- Colorful, smooth art works well for this book
- Some dialogue is only “meh”
This book features very colorful, stereotypical comic book superhero kind of art, especially when it comes to the flashback scenes and it works. The art is simple yet tells the story very well: bright colors, simple lines and light inks make the story come to life in a very fantastical way. Facial expressions are all sound and the action is easy to follow and exciting.
Is it Good?
Sure, it’s quite good. The themes and organization of the story make it worthwhile and seem unlike anything else, save some similarities to Watchmen. It’s a fun read that you could definitely throw $4 at. I definitely enjoyed this comic enough to be along for the rest of the series.