Adventureman is one of those stories that hits hard and fast. There’s no slow burn or gradual layering and building of tension here. Nope, here it’s wham, bam, thank you ma’am as we join an intrepid group of adventurers on the eve of global destruction. It’s five-star pulp action with airships, pistols and pseudo-science magic all balled into a sumptuous treat for the senses. With a bait and switch in the debut issue which played out like a cross between Defenders of the Earth and The Princess Bride, I was definitely up for tuning in to the next gripping instalment.
I’m going to guess that Adventureman will be one of these series that won’t really divide opinion. It’s hard to see why anyone wouldn’t be happy reading this, so it’s more a case of splitting people on just how much they like it. I’ve read a lot of good stuff this year, and this happily punches its way towards the top of the pile.
This second issue further plays into the reality-warping nature of the Adventureman publication. I don’t suspect that we’re heading for a Mouth of Madness affair where this is just Claire losing grip on her sanity. Instead, the magic and thrilling science is bringing a new hero to help save the day. With art deco skyscrapers, automaton security and big bad guys on demonic thrones, I’m genuinely loving every minute of this issue.
If anything, the dinner scenes might’ve be a tad much in the debut issue, but in the context of how we’re introduced to the heroes there’s a not-so-subtle nudge regarding the more everyday heroics. With the problem of introducing a large cast out of the way, this comes across less forced here in issue two. We also see more of Claire’s personal background and how this will likely influence, or explain, elements later in the tale.
So, aside from all this great scripting from Fraction, more than ably delivered by Cowles (the character introductions are so wonderful hammy), we also have the precision and detail of Dodson and Dodson. Each and every panel is full of deliberate visual decisions, pulling the reader’s from panel to panel. Plus, all the characters, main and supporting, get their chance to shine in delicious, staged set pieces.
I could have as easily enjoyed a simple pulp tale of Adventum Worldwide, but this phased reality story really appeals. We’re already in high gear so the test will be if Adventureman can hold its early momentum. It would also be remiss of me to not also mention the additional support material given in this issue. Good choices done with tact and decorum.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster