In Review: Protectors Inc. #2
The covers: A pair for true fans to find! Gordon Purcell provides the art and Michael Atiyeh have created the A cover showing another crime scene. Opposite this grisly setting is the profile of Detective Riley. Between and above the two images is the dominating logo of Protectors Inc. This is a perfect representation of what lurks within this issue without spoiling anything. I like the art and the coloring makes the image nocturnal and ominous. Nice. The B is by Renae DeLiz & Gary Dillon with Riley looking out the sixth story of an apartment building, having just looked at another crime scene. Pictures of the super heroes are on all the high rises, while below the city bustles at night. This would have been a good image on its own, but the coloring is blood red for the street below, making it seem as if the denizens of the city are driving unaware through an ocean of blood. An eerie image. Overall grades: A A and B A+
The story: Riley’s drive on the freeway is slowed because of an accident: a car is hanging out of a building. He puts his police light on his dashboard to get past the standstill and finds that the Huntsman has stopped a stolen car. He’s destroyed many other cars and caused immeasurable damage, but still the hero smiles. Riley has a different word than “hero” for the Huntsman. A brief encounter with another hero occurs, but Riley eventually makes it into work. J. Michael Straczynski then introduces Riley’s peers as they given their daily cases. Things seem fairly routine until someone special appears before the detectives on Page 11 and we get some background on a character from early last issue. Then we transition to a new location and see what came of a character from the final page of Issue #1. Clues are stated and one is visual, and then focused on so readers know who’s also at the scene. This is as detailed as I can get in this review. The mystery of the dead people is continued, new information is given (though only Straczynski knows what’s pertinent), and a famous individual reappears. Why are these people being murdered? What is the relationship between each of the victims? How do these crimes involve Protectors Inc.? Why is that person on the final two pages? These are questions you’ll be left with, but the clues you get are tantalizing enough to keep you wanting more. Overall grade: A
The art: Stealing the issue is the Huntsman, who appeared in only one panel last month. I had no idea on how to imagine this character acting until I saw Riley’s pained look at the bottom of Page 2. The nonstop smile on the Huntsman’s face was annoying to no end. I felt completely as Riley did on Pages 4 and 5, which only made his reaction to the second hero that appears all the more interesting because it’s an opposite emotion he feels. I love the look on his face in the first panel on Page 6. Artist Gordon Purcell does a great job with emotion on these pages, plus he also does a great job with the nine pages set at District 8. These pages are detectives receiving a briefing and they’re just sitting there, getting information. This could have been death for a reader to encounter, but Purcell knows how to make all this information visually interesting for readers, and I’m am grateful for that. Tomas is a perfectly smug non-super for the reader to dislike as much as Riley does. Pages 16 – 20 are inked by Andrew Pepoy, and the line work on those pages looks much thinner than the rest of the book. They look fine, but the entrance of another hand in the artwork is obvious. The shadow on the final page is okay, but was a little too much for me; sort of like having Purcell grabbing me in a head lock with arm around my neck as Biff Tanner, yelling, “Do you get, McFly? Do you get it?” Overall grade: A-
The colors: It’s so nice to read a super hero book set in daylight where all the colors are bright and bold, and I’m not talking about the costumes of the supers. The scenes in District 8 and at a crime scene are just as colorful as those with heroes. Michael Atiyeh also does a good job with light, as is evident in the first panel, reminding me of the glare of the sun as I’m on the freeway every weekday going into work. I also liked the sky at the crime scene: gorgeous blue with subtle hints of clouds. I do have a question about the second to last panel of the book. My copy had a glare from one character’s eye. Was that intentional, or is that a printing error? It’s not outlined by the artist, and was either intentional or printing goof. Outlining it in black would have answered this query. Overall grade: A-
The letters: Again, not a story that demanded many sound effects, as there are only two, but there’s lots of dialogue and narration to keep Troy Peteri busy. Overall grade: A
The final line: The mystery grows and characters who had minor appearances in the first issue reappear. What’s the connection? I don’t know, but I’ll be back next month to learn more! Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th 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.