Review – Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #6 (Oni Press)

Publisher: Oni Press
Writer(s): Joshua Hale Fialkov, Tony Fleecs
Artist: Tony Fleecs
Release Date: 15th March 2017

And so it all comes down to this.  Jeff Steinberg, our thoroughly unremarkable video store clerk, has to engage in a little bout of giant mech combat – to the death, of course – in order to save the world from complete annihilation.  As you do.

It has to be said that the conclusion, such as it is, is fairly underwhelming, and while it’s obvious that there’s more planned in the future, this definitely doesn’t really feel like the end of a series, or even of an arc.  Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs spend a lot of time here setting up things for the future rather than focusing on the here and now, which detracts a little from Jeff’s (spoiler!) unlikely victory, which probably should have felt like a bigger deal than it actually did.

That said, the dialogue continues to be absolutely hilarious at times, particularly any time Jeff’s best friend Rolo opens his mouth.  His running commentary of “what the internet is saying” throughout the pitched battle for the fate of the planet really helps to underscore the offbeat tone of the series, as well as highlighting the impressive comedy chops of its co-writers.   There are also a few moments that don’t land quite as well, such as the return of Obama, but for the most part the issue will keep a grin on your face from start to finish.

Tony Fleecs seems to lose himself slightly in the scale of the giant robot combat on a few occasions here, with some wildly disorientating panels and pages as Jeff desperately fights for his life.  It’s clear that the talented artist is far more comfortable drawing people (and, as it turns out, My Little Ponies and dirty hobo sex), so when you consider that the bulk of this issue is based around the aforementioned giant robot combat, it’s a fair assessment to say that it’s not necessarily the best looking chapter of the series so far.

Something Fleecs does excel at however are the visual comedy beats, and whether it’s the nefarious sabotage of Jeff’s giant robot or the way he finally dispatches his opponent, Fleecs does just as much with his artwork as he and Fialkov do with their writing to keep that aforementioned grin in place throughout the course of this issue.

Ultimately then, while it doesn’t quite satisfy as an ending to a story, or even to a chapter, this is still a fun, enjoyable and frequently hilarious read.  With the way Fialkov and Fleecs have left things, it would be an absolute tragedy if this series doesn’t continue somewhere down the line, and all the indicators here suggest that’s exactly what’s going to happen.  I’ll definitely be picking up whatever comes next, that’s for sure, and I’d highly recommend you do the same.

Rating: 3.5/5.

If you want to find out more about Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth, make sure to check out our interview with co-creators Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs by CLICKING HERE.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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