Through the modern miracle that is Facebook, I get to meet a lot of people who one way or another make comic books. Sometimes it is a writer, sometimes the artist and sometimes the inker. It's pretty cool to chat with them and hear their ideas and see at least a little of what they have, sometimes in advance or way in advance.
At ENR we try as hard as we can to support the Independent Comic creators. We do it with Wild Art Wednesday where we show at least 3 Indie books a week on Facebook and then whenever possible get back to them later for an interview. Also if they are running a Kickstarter or some other form of fundraiser we try to promote it along with the art. On really good weeks we get a preview of the comic book and get to review it.
This week I hit the trifecta and have a property I get to do all three with. A couple of weeks ago I got the privilege of having John Pross become a friend of mine on Facebook, one thing led to another and I was able to put up his Average Jo #2 which happens to be a Kickstarter. Then another very cool thing happened and he sent me the PDF for Average Jo#1. That is this weeks topic and like the title of this column there is nothing average about this Jo.
He Who Has The Powers
Average Jo #1
Writers: Derek Adnams/ John Pross
Pencils: Julius Abrera
Colors: Bryan Maganaye
Letters: Brandon Bullock
Produced: Pross Comics
Average Jo starts like any good cape book, and that means action. We have the prerequisite villain, the hero and then everything else changes.
Oh sure the supers do what the supers do, but this story isn't about the capes, it's about Jo. Jo Hamilton has problems and the least of these just maybe that he is a cop in a world of super people. His job has become crowd control during super powered fights, when he would be able to do his job because of the Wertham Act he has to stand back and allow the mercenaries to clean up.
It gets worse. He is separated from his wife who hates him, his daughter who calls another man Daddy and a "life" that besides the job is non-existent. Pretty
bad right? Yea it gets worse. You see Ginger Blast is a baddie, who is a hottie, who is killing people. Our boy Jo finally gets to "have a night out" and who does he pick up? Yep Ginger.
Whats Good: The concept of this book is awesome. When John told me what it was about I knew right then I needed to read it. The story being told here is mostly set up for issue two, but what a great set up. This isn't a cape book, but the plot drives the reader much like one and delivers where it should. I enjoyed the by play with the cops and mercs and the feeling of frustration on the part of Jo and his fellow officers. The story moves from scene to scene without clunking down as we follow the day in the life of Jo. I also enjoyed the first person narrative from Jo and his insight on the whole day. From start to finish no matter how bad that day got, from the "rough start" through the family drama, then picking up a killer, Jo just says "the day isn't looking so good". It is a magnificent understatement but goes to show the heart of our man Jo.
Abrera's pencils are better than average and some panels are flat out gorgeous. The facials are outstanding, and they need to be as this is more of a narrative driven story line, but you can't dismiss the little things that mean so much. The cars on the streets, the crowds, the bar scene and the party are all nicely fleshed out, no quick hits here as attention to detail takes priority. The colors really define the mood of the panels and the overall feel of the book.
Whats Bad: Nothing, I really enjoyed this first issue and really would very much like to read a second one.
The good news is it is being made. The very good news is that we can help make sure it does. Go here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/demoncomicbook/average-jo-2 and check out the Kickstarter page with all the swag! Or check out the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/768527119835598/ or Pross Comics here: https://www.facebook.com/ProssComics
Average Jo #1 9 out of 10
Next up I have Heroes of the North: Legacies! It has a special guest that I can't wait to show you! Until then.