Writers: Andrew Cosby & Brendan Hay
Artist: Diego Barreto
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Cover artists: J.K. Woodward & Dennis Calero
Editor: Matt Gagnon
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Price: $3.99 US
I have seen a few episodes of the Sci Fi Network series upon which this comic book is based; my wife and I are the most casual of viewers, but we both enjoy the show for its sense of humor and its interesting mix of police-procedural and science-fiction elements. Among the various TV shows that find their way into the comic-book medium, Eureka makes perfect sense as a candidate for such a transition, as it’s likely the comics medium and this quirky show share a common demographic of genre fans. This comic captures the spirit and dialogue beats of the show nicely. However, I wonder if a four-issue limited series, which will come to a total of $15.96 US, can really compete with an episode of the show, as the latter costs the audience nothing more than its cable package.
A crazed gunman — who just happens to be a mental patient who’d been undergoing treatment at a Global Dynamics facility in Eureka — takes Sheriff Jack Carter’s teenage daughter hostage at the local high school. Carter does what he does best: running recklessly toward danger in the hopes of diffusing the situation. Unfortunately, even he can’t prevent a fatality this time. The incident leads to a mystery about what was wrong with the gunman… and why someone who should be in the morgue is walking around. Unbeknownst to Carter and the others, the violent gunman has a connection to another citizen of Eureka, and he needs that person’s help.
I’ve long been a fan of Eduardo Barreto’s artwork, so I’m always interested in sampling his son Diego Barreto’s efforts, given the similarity in style. Barreto opts not to attempt to capture detailed likenesses of the various cast members of the TV show. He offers us enough cues to be able to recognize the familiar faces, but since his isn’t a photorealistic style, he wisely decided to avoid that usual approach to other-media adaptations. Probably the most impressive contribution he makes to the story is depicting the antagonist as a tower of strength, a behemoth of a man. It suits his background and quickly establishes the threat he poses, with or without a weapon.
I was a bit disappointed with Barreto’s portrayal of Jo, the sheriff’s deputy. Here, she appears to be a young African-American woman, whereas the actress portraying her appears to be of Hispanic descent. Part of the blame lies with the colors, but Barreto’s take on her features and hair still seem to deviate too much from the already established character. Speaking of the colors, they’re quite bright throughout the entire issue, and given the harsh elements that explain the main plotline, that might seem like an odd choice to some. But the brightness in this comic is in keeping with a lighter tone that’s characteristic of the TV series, so it works well.
Perhaps what will of the greatest interest to fans of the TV show is that co-creator and plotter Andrew Cosby is willing to offer new character information here rather than on the show. Jo’s background comes into play pretty heavily in this story, and Carter’s traumatic resolution or a key moment of conflict reveals something new about him as well. Maybe fans of the show will be disappointed with the choice to offer those revelations here, but as a comic-book enthusiasts, I’m pleased to see that this side project isn’t been treated as superfluous to the continuity of the program that spawned it.
Hay’s script offers those new to the Eureka concept just enough information to follow the story, but at the same time, it isn’t mired in a lot of exposition. The story and script stay true to the show; the concepts make the transition from one medium to another radically different one surprisingly well. I just wonder if the cost of comics will be a barrier to the TV show’s audience. With any luck, there will be some cross-promotional efforts to transform at least a few thousand viewers into a few thousand readers. 7/10