Saturday, April 14, 2012

WGTB reviews Dragonstorm #1

After having read and reviewed Stormchasers #4 by UnstoppableComics last month, I decided to follow-up with the publisher and get another comic. Why not right? I liked it last time and I've been doing my best think outside the Big Two box lately and read stories I might otherwise not come across. What I got was one of Unstoppable's latest offerings, a book called Dragonstorm #1 which did not disappoint. 
Unstoppable Comics' Dragonstorm #1 (April 2012) created, written and lettered by Jaydee Rosario with cover by Pat O'Donnell and pages 1-9 interior art by Joel Cotegar (inks by Alex Riveera) and pages 10-22 by Craig Shepard (inks by Michael Summers). 
First off, the name 'Dragonstorm' and the cover caught my attention right away. Having lived in Japan, I'm always willing to give anything that even remotely references the great ancient cultures of Asia the benefit of the doubt. But as I was reading the book and learning about the namesake hero, I soon realised Unstoppable was trying to pull a fast one. The true protagonist of this story is not Dragonstorm, but actually a teen-aged girl named Lyllian and this really sparked my interest. Indeed, much of the story is all about how Lyllian and Dragonstorm came to meet each other and how this sets us up for what could be an interesting dynamic for the rest of the series.
Lyllian and Dragonstorm from Unstoppable Comics Dragonstorm #1 (April 2012) Dragonstorm himself resembles a cross between Nightwing and (Marvel's) Captain Marvel.
You see (and I'm trying to be careful not to give things away here) Lyllian's mother and father are now out of the picture (euphemism!) and her own grandfather has forced Dragonstorm to train her for a task that has yet to be revealed. However, it is also made very clear to us that Dragonstorm is not the Grandfather's friend and Grandpa in this case is not a jujube dispensing nice guy (like mine is!) but rather the enemy and chief antagonist of the series. Okay, I’ve probably already given too much away, but this overall premise, while being somewhat similar to other stories, is never-the-less different in that it focuses on a female lead, which even in today's market is something irregular.* Suffice it to say, it will be interesting to see how this male/female -- guardian/ward relationship develops and could be a refreshing change for comic fans. 

While a common trope in comics, Dragonstorm is aiming to introduce the Guardian/Ward dynamic within the context of a male/female relationship. Risky perhaps, but could this also be in interesting innovation? Image of Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake from DC's Batman #654 (June 2006).
Moving on to the art, these responsibilities were divided with the first half of the book done by Joel Cotejar and the latter by Craig Shepard. Both artists did a good job and the panels, while more Image Comics mainstream than Big Two mainstream (take from that statement whatever you'd like), never-the-less complement and amplify the story. With regard to their portrayal of the Dragonstorm himself, I think he has some cool powers, including a wing-shaped force-field, and I look forward to learning how he came about as well as how he develops and changes over time.

Dragonstorm's 'wings' in Dragonstorm #1, April 2012
Grandpa's quite the baddie in Dragonstorm #1, April 2012
So there you go. Somewhat brief thoughts on the latest from the Unstoppable Comics stable. If you can get your hands on a copy of Dragonstorm give it a shot -- it's always good for us readers to look beyond the Big Two to see what the newer guys are doing. I've linked to their company's website above if you're looking to track down a copy and please let me know what you think about the book in the comment section below. 

*NB: I'll probably be stepping away from the blog for the next little bit (I have other scholastic commitments) but once again thanks for reading WGTB and please feel free to leave any comment about the blog. I'm still relatively new at this and always looking to improve. Also, if you're looking for a great conversation about the issue of female super-hero leads check out the most recent conversation between Kelly Sue DeConnick and John Siuntres at the Word Balloon podcast. It's very good.

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