The TNT franchise comes to comics! No, I didn’t know it was a thing, either!
When the man who made ’70s TV weird is slain by the former narrator of his own films, only one team has the skills to figure out why. In The Librarians #1, we meet that eclectic bunch. Is it good?
Flynn Carsen’s dragged everyone out to see a Sol Schick film festival for a couple reasons. First, he’s just a big fan. Who doesn’t love old, grainy Bigfoot and Nazca lines documentaries?
More importantly, though, the clippings book has shown him that the Librarians need to be here. The reason becomes obvious when the paranormal granddaddy is stabbed to death(?) in front of an audience, only for the murder weapon to mysteriously appear in Carsen’s jacket.
Interrogating Oscar Orville doesn’t really get the Librarians anywhere, except to the notion that maybe Schick isn’t really dead, after all. A flying squirrel jump later and Ezekiel Jones is inside Schick’s palatial Manhattan pad to see what’s really going down, and it’s one of the more ridiculous(ly awesome?) scenes that you’ll come across.
In The Librarians #1, writer Will Pfeiffer introduces us to … wait, what do you mean these are preexisting characters? Four seasons on TNT and THREE films? Where has this weird little universe been hiding?
Well, Pfeiffer makes the smart assumption that you don’t know who these people are and includes a large introductory paragraph on the title page of Librarians #1. Problem is, that’s followed up with blocky captions for each character as they pop up in the story, ones that are often more interesting than the blander intro, but using both devices is redundant.
And it’s a lot more “telling” than “showing.” For all the different, weird and funky backstories, only Jones really stands out as sounding unique, and that’s probably just due to the soccer references. One of these characters in a synesthete — someone whose sensory information gets mixed up so that they see colors when hearing musical tones, or experience other such overlaps. That’s so freaking cool, and I wish we had gotten to see it! Yes, Jones is the only one to get any real shine in The Librarians #1, while everyone else mills around and argues about jurisdiction.
But at least the beginning of the book is a nice bit of nostalgia for those who remember the classic, supposedly true documentaries of the ’70s. The title of this issue is even “In Search Of.” We’re also told that Bigfoot and Nessie definitively exist in this universe, so it can only get weirder, as evidenced by the conclusion of The Librarians #1.
And Rodney Buchemi draws a mean John Larroquette analog. The art overall fits the story well, and sometimes the facial expressions are better at differentiating the characters than their words are (the counter-terrorism expert is especially furrowed, for instance). The colors by Weslei Manuel are subdued enough for a more “real” setting, but vibrant enough to remind you that this is a comic book.
Sadly though, it’s not enough to really bring the reader into the story. The Librarians #1 feels like what most people think hanging out with actual librarians would be — it’s a lot of talking with no one really doing anything and not much exciting happens. Is this what the live-action versions are like? With a long track record, I have to doubt it, but then maybe that’s why there seems to be no collective recollection of any of it actually happening.