Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Mark Evanier, Sergio Aragonés
Artist: Sergio Aragonés, Thomas Yeates
Release Date: 23rd July 2014
Mash-ups, crossovers, and so on have a chequered history. Interminable Dark Knight vs…, the Amalgam universe, Toy franchise v Toy franchise – you get the point, if it’s not done with tongue firmly in cheek there can be all sorts of trouble. But straight away, the glorious cover art of this issue lets you know that this is clearly going to be a jolly romp.
The opening Conan section is spot on, effectively dated in style, slightly stilted and contrived prose. It ticks lots of boxes, is well framed and really feels the part – I could quite happily have read a full issue of that.
We then get a “real-world” framed narrative discussing the problems of crossovers, which works pretty well but begins to dominate the story as a whole as it becomes an Aragonés delusion. In some ways, it spoils it rather as it’s neither one thing nor the other by that point – it really needs to commit. It’s not helped that the “real” is drawn in the style of the Groo sections. I’m not crazy about that certain style of mid-european comic novella, but it works for Groo. However, by not distinguishing it from the “real” it leaves the reader somewhat frustrated.
It’s a fun effort, all in all, and let’s hope they can maintain it across the 4 issues whilst sorting out some of their niggles by the next.
The writer of this piece was: Sam de Smith
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