Wednesday, February 27, 2013

EXCLUSIVE Advance Review: Ehmm Theory # 1

Written by Brockton McKinney
Art by Larkin Ford & Jason Strutz
Action Lab Entertainment


            Been a while since I had to do one of these. Action Labs Entertainment is an up & coming indie comic book company that has been publishing a lot of good work. Don’t Believe me. Jeremy Whitley, author of Princeless & Order of Dagonet, was nominated for an Eisner for his work … alongside the same year as Mark Waid. Let that speak to you for a moment.

            Action Labs will also be putting out  Jamal Igle’s upcoming Molly Danger, Whitley’s new NFL Rush Zone comic and have been known for their family friendly books. Yet, they are expanding outside of the family friendly realm with their wave of books under their Danger Zone banner. Danger Zone are more mature. This is one of the first books that will be launched this May under the Danger Zone Banner. So, to all fans & retailers …. Read this review. Comment. And watch history in the making with this first review of Ehmm Theory.


            We open our book with a man … and a talking cat that is adorable as they kick the head off of a zombie, midget clown. Yes. You read that correctly. A zombie … midget … clown. And that immediate makes way for how our main characters … the cat seemingly being one .. got in their particular predicament.
            Our main characters, Gabriel Ehmm and his cat, Mr. Whiskers, gets charged with a mission. Their mission is not apparent to till they get back to Earth and start dealing with zombie midget clowns. That and Gabriel being told that he has to find his father … his biological father. Which he gets a lead at the end of the issue.


            Larkin Ford’s art was surprisingly impressive with this opening issue. I say that cause the style of art leans between the cartoony with touches of realism but the first panel of the first page was definitely a selling point. It provided the right tone and sucked me in. The next few pages of Ford’s pencils and inks alongside Jason Strutz (artist of Order of Dagonet) sold me for the ride that this book is gonna take visually. For the love, no matter the scene with Mr. Whiskers, the cat is so cute that it will make women swoon just by looking at him.

            The inks were deeper and darker during the more violent scenes while lighter during the more mundane or …”heavenly” ones. Strutz colors enhanced the work more, making sure the violent scenes were touched with darker shades while brighter in other scenes. Even a panel in the issue where Gabriel and Mr. Whiskers talk to their “benefactor”, Strutz ends up coloring the panel somewhat similar to the bright & awesome work he does for Order of Dagonet. Ford and Strutz really put their best foot forward with kinetic, interesting positions, inks, pencils and colors. The gore was visually stunning but not overwhelming, which I find in a lot of other books. Kudos to this team.


            McKinney writes what seems to be a very simple story when you look at it but when you think about it, every answer leads to another question. And that is what will make this title a force to be reckoned with. Seriously . . . as you go through the events of this first issue, you begin to ask yourself questions. We know how Gabriel ends up in his current state but the actual that all started is not revealed, leaving one of many mysteries that the book holds. We know why Mr. Whiskers is there along with him and why he talks. Yet, the actual why him and Gabriel where picked for their mission is never revealed. And we see zombie midget clowns but no idea as to why they are coming out from the graves now.

            All these questions get set up in the first issue. The first issue reads great. A full issue which gives you the origin of our main characters and sets up the premise of the series …without giving it all to you all at once. McKinney does a spectacular job doing all this set up. Gabriel and Mr. Whiskers, as characters, feel authentic with their comments and reactions. Nothing sounds too comic booky or cheesy. It sounds real. It looks real and really goes a long way to help this book find its voice.

            And McKinney does a great job balancing and pacing the story he gives in this first issue. Nothing feels slow. Nothing feels too fast. Everything comes off well paced. There isn’t too much gore. There is no lack of character development. Really solid in execution. My only minor gripe would be that I have to wait for some of these answers.  LOL


            I can honestly say that this book is solid. Good art. Not art that you may be used to if you are long in the super hero brand of reading but it is solid and looks beautiful. The characters are relatable and likable. The pacing is excellent. Everything feels right. And the book keeps you asking questions after every answer they give. It’s funny. It’s violent. It’s smart. And I implore any and all retailers that if you are worried this book won’t sell, trust me … it will. I tell everyone, when the book comes out in May … pick this up. You will NOT be disappointed.


            I give Ehmm Theory # 1 a 9 out of 10. This was a GREAT read. And I look forward to more. 

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