Daily Archives: December 31, 2011

Quick Critiques – Dec. 31, 2011

The Activity #1 (Image Comics)
by Nathan Edmondson & Mitch Gerads

Though his work on DC’s Grifter has lacked the strength of his work on Who Is Jake Ellis?, I had no hesitation when it came to checking out writer Nathan Edmondson’s latest project, The Activity, another creator-owned book from Image. Edmondson is clearly most comfortable in the espionage/international-intrigue genre, and he does some excellent work here. His timing is excellent, given the recent release of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Those who enjoy the flick will likely get a kick out of this comic book. The interplay among the members of the intel/secret-ops team is convincing, and it helps to make these people with unbelievable jobs more believable. This opening chapter pretty much just sets the stage. There’s no mission in which something goes awry. There’s no shocking revelation, just an introduction to the premise and players. But it’s done quite well. Edmondson has quickly joined the ranks of such writers as Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer, guys cut their teeth in the industry with Image Comics and who pen particular smart, compelling fiction in fantastic or extreme circumstances.

Artist Mitch Gerads’ style is a fairly photorealistic one, but not overly detailed or stiff so as to look like it’s lightboxed, photo-referenced material. His work here reminds me of the styles of such other comics artists as Jock and Jeremy Haun. The good news is he isn’t adapting a typical super-hero style for something outside of that genre. The characters here move and dress like normal people. Muscles don’t bulge; clothes drape believably in the artwork. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the visuals is the color. Cool tones are employed to maintain a slightly tense mood that’s in keeping with the genre and premise. 8/10

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