Saturday, April 26, 2003

Skye Runner #1 Review

I will admit, I was not expecting much from Skye Runner, a new fantasy book released through Wildstorm, by the same creative team who did Ninja Boy, Allen Warner and Ale Garza. In fact, I believe my expectations were the same as they were for Ninja Boy, “Ah, a project designed to spotlight Ale Garza’s nice art.” The first issue of Skye Runner did a good job of exceeding my expectations. I am interested in seeing what happens next after the first issue, which had a lot of good parts (Garza’s art, in particular), but in the end, suffered a bit too much from story problems.

First off, isn’t it bizarre how the artists that draw women with really big breasts also tend to draw the cutest kids? J. Scott Campbell, Erik Larsen, Joe Madureira, Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo all draw the cutest kids, and also the “sexiest” ladies. What a weird combination. My pal Brad Curran explains it as these artists being big on exaggeration, which ends up looking kinda creepy with women, but cute when it is use to draw little kids. I think he is absolutely correct, and Ale Garza fits right into this mold, as the comic opens with some cute kids playing a game (and we later get to meet Skye, who is a quite busty young lady).

The story is a mixture of good ideas and bad ideas, like the good idea of a kingdom on the run, forced to move the “kingdom” to a small village, guarded only by a few old men who used to be knights and a few inexperienced young men. Thrown into the mix is Lady Skye, daughter of their late King, and blessed with great powers. Her super strength is introduced quite nicely, in a good scene towards the beginning of the book. However, there are also some drawbacks to the set-up. First off, the outfit – she wears what is essentially a bodice. A bodice! What gives? It would be perfectly fine if the book just expected us to buy it, you know, as if this was just how people dress. But they make a point of pointing out that it ISN’T normal, as the other young ladies in the town mock her for walking around in essentially negligee. But they’re RIGHT! It IS absurd to be walking around in a bodice (although the mocking scene is played poorly as well – it’s one thing to say “Good afterboobs,” but then the girl sneaks “boobs” into two more sentences! It didn’t make any sense)!!

Skye is held back by her gender and age, so she can’t even BE a knight, instead degraded to basically a gofer status – a “runner” (hence the title), who relays messages and gets food for the knights. Skye also has a love interest in the son of one of the older knights.

The book kicks it into high gear when her nephew and niece bring home a little creature, and it gives Skye a warning. This is by far the best scene in the book, and one of the most effective uses of drama I’ve seen in an action comic in quite some time, as the two little kids are feeding this cute little animal they found in the beginning of the book, and the creature suddenly turns to Skye and tells her “Go get your gun,” and when Skye says “What?” (no one else can hear the creature), it says “It’s almost here.” VERY cool scene, and Skye is quite decisive as she takes charge of the situation.

However, most of the rest of the book is almost indecipherable, as a bunch of creatures (who knows what, exactly, as you can’t really tell right away that there is one BIG creature and a bunch of small ones) attacks the kingdom, and we learn the larger plot, and how it is tied to the gods wanting to destroy humanity and blah blah, and there is this ginormous fight scene that doesn’t exactly make sense, and I think Skye’s love interest is decapitated right in front of her (THAT, I kinda admire, I will admit), and I THINK that the guy’s father is killed, too (not too clear). Anyhow, some magician shows up, who apparently sent the unicorn knowing it would eventually lead him to Skye. The magician defeats the big creature, but the small creatures escape with Skye’s family in tow.

The book apparently will continue with the magician using Skye to bring down the gods. I wouldn’t recommend Skye Runner #1, but fans of fantasy might very well enjoy this comic, which had a lot of nice character moments and some nice Garza art. I'd be interested in seeing where the story goes.

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