In Review: Larfleeze #1
The cover: Larfleeze and his “butler” (I can’t remember this character’s name, though it was mentioned in Threshold) are coming at the reader, the former looking plenty cheesed. This is a good image of the one and only orange lantern in the universe, while the butler looks a lot older and taller than he’s been shown before. In a way this illustration by Howard Porter is unfair to readers because it’s not as comical as what’s within this book. Overall grade: B
The story: What subtle title do you give to the first issue of a new book? If you’re Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis you go with the appropriate “The Extremely Large Dog on the Edge of Forever!” Take that, Star Trek fans. This issue is the origin of Larfleeze as told by Larfleeze. Can you trust him? Probably not. Are there moments of truth? Maybe. This is a story to take with a grain of salt, but one that reveals the character of the orange ring wielder. The first three page have terrific give and take between Lar and his butler (man, I wish his name had been brought up again!), before Larfleeze begins his tale. It’s a sad tale, if it’s remotely true. It’s a funny tale, in the way it’s told. It’s an over the top tale: the top three panels of Page 5 make Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life film look like a Disney flick. On Page 15 a major change in Larfleeze’s abilities is discovered but isn’t discussed in detail due to the arrival of a cosmic antagonist. Page 17 has the ultimate solution to this problem, but Pages 18 and 19 show that 15 was only a precursor of things to come. You might not like Larfleeze this funny, but I did. This was great! Overall grade: A
The art: After a few issues on Legion of Super-Heroes before going to Threshold to try out Larfleeze, Scott Kolins has found his style and I like it! He’s mastered his leads nicely, his panels have plenty of details (Pages 4 – 6 won me over), and he can show the power of Larfleeze well (Pages 13 and 17). I can rave on and one: the top of Page 5 is the sickest, funniest scene I’ve encountered in a long time; the fantastic final panel of Page 10; his “birth” on Page 12; and the double-paged spread of 18 and 19. Overall grade: A
The colors: This book could have been a disaster in orange–too much that overpowers the book. It’s not. Mike Atiyeh masterfully knows when to drop the bright colors in. Naturally orange gets used when Larfleeze is using his powers, but Atiyeh doesn’t just use it there. He uses the color for the borders during the origin. What a great look! As soon as it disappeared I realized quickly we were back in the present. Great use of color to move the reader in and out of the story within a story. Overall grade: A
The letters: Sound effects have been used to great success in the past by both writers, and this issue is no different. Dave Sharpe delivers the sound of the year with “SHPLATOOM!!!” It drips with gooey gory fun. This, and other sounds, dialogue and narration are tops. Overall grade: A
The final line: Sick, twisted and funny heroics are back in the DC Universe! Go buy your own copy–’cause this one is mine! ALL MINE! Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor for a few years to the Comics Buyers Guide with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years, and only recently has been teaching 9th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.