Review – Juice Squeezers #1 (Of 4) (Dark Horse Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: David Lapham
Artist: David Lapham
Release Date: 31st December 2013

First off let me preface this by stating that up until this point in time I was not familiar with David Lapham’s work.  I did a quick internet search discovered he has been around the block. He did some work for publishers like Valiant, Defiant his own creation El Capitan, and worked with Marvel and DC among others. Having looked all that up, honestly after reading Juice Squeezers #1 I’m not really impressed. Again, I had no knowledge of him prior to reading this book. I’m sure he’s a talented writer and storyteller but for me this book just didn’t display it.  Maybe if I was 10 year old child just getting into comics this would’ve worked for me, but not being a 32-year-old adult that still enjoys the escape a good comic provides. The artwork I have no issues with. I thought it was well put together and told the story the words provided very well.

The premise of the book is a small town named Weeville California where giant bugs have infested the underground. There is no origin given on how the bugs got there, or what caused them to be giant. Mutation? Slime? Chemical Spill? I could list other possibilities but your guess is as good as mine.  Nor is there reason given as to why they chose Weeville.  That to me was a hole in the plot (unless it is to be brought up in a later issue), but that’s a pretty big hole starting out. These bugs apparently haven’t attacked on the surface for a while but to keep them at bay, a small band of misfit teens – I’m guessing they are between 12-15 years of age – are on pest control. They are the ones doing the dirty work because they are the only ones small enough to fit into the tunnels left by the giant bugs. Their job is to go into the tunnels and plant poison pellets developed by Dr. Rivaldi, a character only mentioned by name so far, to keep the bugs from the surface.

 The children are led by Mr. Kettleborne, a Samuel Jackson/Nick Fury look-alike, eye patch and all, that from my guess is the Physical Education teacher (Gym Teacher to those of us on this side of the pond). When Mr. Kettleborne is introduced he mentions a few other characters by name for the children to report findings to. Then proceeds to mention to the children that a new family is moving into the scene of a massive bug attack some time ago that – you guessed it – left him with one eye.  This piece of land was referred to as Valley May Farms. Here’s the catch… you can’t tell the family they live on the bugs favorite gathering spot. The explanation given as to why the bugs attack this area is just that it has good water supply and fertile land, and that’s where I’d go if I was a bug…right?! I’m guessing foreshadowing is going down andthat maybe in later issues we can expect another mass attack at this location, but I’m not sure I want to stick around and find out.

I had a hard time deciphering if the entire town was aware of the happenings under their feet or if it was just Kettleborne, Rivaldi and the kids. It’s mentioned that a few people were aware of what happened at Valley May Farms, but that they passed on and that’s how the land was sold to the new family. So I’m not sure if just the people Mr. Kettleborne’s age know or who knows other than them.

All in all if I was 20 years younger and got this in my hands I probably would be okay with it and even want to stick around for at least issue #2. But as it stands right now I think the plot, though it is good with minor holes, just isn’t a fresh enough idea. Something lurking in the shadows, only a select few can battle it, big secret only the townsfolk know blah blah blah.  Mr. Lapham I’m sorry for the less than stellar review but Juice Squeezers just didn’t do it for me. I will have to “squash” any further reading into this series.

Rating: 4/10.

Review by: Shane Hoffman (AKA “Hoff”)

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