Monday, February 18, 2008

Jeremiah Harm

I picked Boom Studios' Jeremiah Harm TPB up last week since it was a fairly light week for me. I didn't really have any knowledge of the book, but a quick flip-through showed it to be fairly clearly in the sci-fi genre and the art looked intriguing. It collects issue 1-5 of the pamphlet version.

The opening is basically a prison escape from a maximum security satellite. There's lots of mayhem and death, with the satellite itself blowing up. The chief of security, in order to salvage what may be left of his career, orders the release of the man who captured the villain in the first place. Jeremiah Harm negotiates some terms that leave him free and clear and causes some havoc trying to track where the trio of escapees left to.

The introduction here was excellent. There's a lot of things going, and the readers are given just enough information to follow along, but only just. Meaning that the story flow itself enhances the chaos of the prison break. We get a reasonable sense of the characters we're looking at, their motivations and the basic plot of the series. Plus some intricate and detailed artwork, it's a great start.

Unfortunately, things start going downhill from there.

Jeremiah tracks the villains to Earth where, it turns out, they're looking for something called the Basal Shard which they intend to use to destroy everything. Jeremiah runs across several native New Yorkers (including a doctor, a nurse, a police officer, and a gang member) who seem quite happy to follow him and the trail of dead bodies he leaves in his wake. The group eventually follow the bad guys to a hidden, underground teleporter that takes them all directly to the Basal Shard. There's some extended violence, the good guys win, the universe is saved, and Jeremiah blips off into the proverbial sunset while the gang member decides to reform entirely and help out the doc and nurse in their free clinic.

It's not that the story was executed poorly, but it was became increasingly trite as it progressed. The last two issues' worth read like a hundred movie scripts, down to much of the dialogue!

Oh, look. The Really Scared KidTM who left just before the Big ConfrontationTM showed up at the last minute to distract the Bad GuyTM long enough for the HeroTM to decisively win. Couldn't see that coming.

It was really a shame. There were some decent characters, and the interplay between Jeremiah and the psychotic killer, Ayoto, was interesting. There was a good set-up and introduction, but it didn't really deliver a satisfying payoff. The more it read like the latest Special Effects BlockbusterTM, the less I cared.

Switching artists mid-way through didn't help matters either. The intricacies and details that Rael Lyra put in the earlier chapters were replaced with Rafael Albuquerque's blockier, less illustrative style towards the end. The characters, fortunately, remained readily identifiable but the art that helped attract me to the book initially was not present throughout. There was an increase in panels towards the end that utilized previously drawn artwork and, while I'm not about to cite that a necessarily bad thing in and of itself, it did serve to further highlight the differences between the two artists.

I could easily see this being picked up a movie studio and trotted out as the next action flick starring Vin Diesel. And that is precisely what's wrong with Jeremiah Harm.

1 comment:

Swinebread said...

Same reaction here... I wasted my money, but I can sell it to a used bookstore.