Indestructible Stingray #1 was chosen as the winner of Darby Pop Publishing’s “amateur” comic book scribe contest. It tells the origin story of Stingray as she makes her debut appearance with The League of Defenders. Is it good?
Indestructible Stingray #1 (IDW Publishing)
In October of 2014, Darby Pop Publishing put together a contest asking “amateur” comic book scribes to build a deeper back-story around one of their secondary characters. This is the story that was chosen.
Writer Jeff Marsick begins the story introducing Stingray not only to the readers, but to the media and The League of Defenders. However, he doesn’t examine her character or begin to flesh her out. Instead, he addresses problems the League of Defenders is having. The Mighty and Princess Power, the League’s two leaders, have a heated argument over the reasoning behind Stingray’s acceptance into the League. It provides an interesting critique on popular culture particularly celebrity worship, but also details the financial woes of the League.
Marsick does a good job of familiarizing new readers with the League of Defenders: who they are, what their capabilities are, and how they go about protecting society. He does this by giving Stingray a tour of their facilities. Parts of the tour are a little cheesy, such as the gluten-free and vegan friendly dining facility where one of the members is taking soft-serve ice cream to the face from the dispenser. Others are a little more intense, such as the intelligence center where Marsick hints that Stingray may not be the type of hero The Mighty expects out of members of The League. This whole scenario is very slow and reads much like filler.
After quite a build-up, Marsick finally puts The League into action. We get a little glimpse of Stingray’s personality as Princess Power issues her orders. She is prideful, but also wants to prove herself to Princess Power. A bus falling off a bridge is the perfect opportunity to do so; it shows her quick thinking and big heart as she dives into action to save the day. However, it also displays a touch of deviousness and guile. Marsick puts the conflict between her deviousness and big heart front and center. He concludes the issue with a major twist revealing the cause of the conflict. Needless to say, Stingray is a complex character.
Artist Luca Reguzzoni’s pencils are a little blocky for my taste; there a couple of panels where chins and stomachs don’t have natural curves but have more rigid hard lines. Some of the characters’ reactions to each other seem at odds as well. There are two specific panels where Princess Power and The Mighty are arguing. In the first, Princess Power is shoving her finger right into The Mighty’s face who has the look of a wounded dog in his eyes. This transitions into a panel where The Mighty has his finger in Princess Power’s face.. It is unnatural to go from a wounded dog to an attack dog in a split second. It really watered down the argument and took away from the moment.
Reguzzoni’s action sequence was captivating. You can feel Princess Power’s struggle in her voice as you see the bus slipping away under her grip. The opening scene, introducing Stingray, is also well done. Reguzzoni slowly builds anticipation, taking Stingray from an open ocean to a mere shadow and finally unveils her as she leaps out of the ocean.
Is It Good?
Indestructible: Stingray #1 had flashes of great storytelling. Marsick’s exploration of Stingray doesn’t kick in until the very end. The beginning is very slow, introducing the League of Defenders and their base. Much of it seemed unnecessary to the story. Luca Reguzzoni’s artwork, much like the story, had flashes of great work especially the opening scene as Stingray emerges from the water, but overall it was lackluster and struggled to capture facial expressions and emotions.