Friday, October 7, 2011

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode #1

Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Tradd Moore
Company: Image Comics

To be completely honest, I had no idea what to expect with this first issue of The Strange Talent of Luther Strode. A friend of mine read a preview copy a while back and immediately stated that it was a "must read" title, one of those books that grabs you by the balls from the get go and gets you hooked quick and leaves you gasping for breath wanting more. I said okay, that I would most certainly give it a shot, even though it seemed like a book that wasn't really my cup of tea. It wasn't because of the super violence that I knew the book reveled in, nor was it the notion of a high school kid getting super powers. What it was, was the fact that we've seen these kinds of things tackled before and I was unsure of what, if anything, new that could be
brought to the table. Let me just state for the record just how wrong I was up front.

Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore are creators that are relative new comers to the comics world. That their first outing is such a strong one, speaks volumes to both of their abilities as creators. Jordan's script, one that takes the old age Charles Atlas comic book advertisement of promised strength in just two weeks, and puts the proverbial new age spin on it is an immediate grabber. Again we've seen it before, but there's a new feeling here that differentiates itself from other stories we've seen before in the form of a Secret Society that uses said advertisement as a method of tryout. That's the starting point. From there we get a look at our main character, Luther, and his best friend Pete. The interaction between the two is very well done. They're believable as typical high school students who are a little bit on the fringe of society while at the same time being actual good guys that you can invest yourself in. You want Luther to succeed, revel in his newly acquired powers, and feel for him as he gets dragged deeper and deeper into a society that has been around for years and years.

Jordan also crafts a nice supporting cast in the way of Luther's Mom, Petra (the girl that he's interested in), a few bullies that are foils for Luther, and our villain, The Librarian. None of these are throw away characters. Each are treated with respect and feel very well rounded and bring some unique element to the story that when put together, makes for a much more enjoyable read. That's a fairly important thing and I give Jordan a lot of credit for it. In a lot of ways, there is sort of a Spider-Man vibe going on with the book, but of course, that's really before you add in the hyper-violence. Usually, that sort of thing throws me off, but there's a tongue in cheek sensibility that keeps it from being beyond the pale. I think if you're looking to compare the violence to something, I'd compare it to something like Kill Bill. It's over the top and gory, for sure, but there's a real element of entertainment as well.

A lot of that has to do with artist Tradd Moore and what he brings to the table with his talents. With a style that evokes artists such as Romita Jr., Ryan Ottley, and Dan Hipp, the work here is insanely impressive. It deceptive with its cartoon-y styling at times, but beneath that it's hiding a brilliantly honed edge that Moore uses with such skill. The action is no holds barred, in your face, tearing things limb from limb, and your eyes are glued to the proceedings completely and utterly. He also handles the day to day stuff, the characters talking to one another, quite well. Just the character creation and design and the way that they all move on the page is very fluid. Nothing about the art here is boring or mundane. It bristles with originality and demands your attention.

So yes, The Strange Talent of Luther Strode is a title definitely worth your time and money. It's inventive, humorous, immensely enjoyable, and sates your desire for revenge and destruction. What more can you ask for, really?

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