Monday, March 2, 2009

Dynamo 5 #0

When you’re a big name, whether it’s on the basketball court, in the movies or up in the sky with a muscle-hugging wardrobe, that level of celebrity carries with it a certain number of, shall we say, temptations. Even the biggest, noblest superhero on the planet, Captain Dynamo, wasn’t immune to some play on the side – as evidenced by the five children he bore with different women throughout his career. But now that he’s dead and gone, the world needs protection more than ever, and with each of his children inheriting just one of his fantastic powers, it doesn’t seem like this can be just a one-man job any more.

I like this premise, a quintet of rookie heroes with a tenuous connection trying to keep the world safe at the same time they’re still learning the ropes, but the execution feels a bit flat. While I’d imagine the murky circumstances around each kid’s conception would lead to a bit of animosity and tension within the team, that isn’t the case with any member of Dynamo 5. They get along swimmingly from the very first panel, like a flyin’, fightin’, spandex-stretchin’ Brady Bunch. Either these are the most well adjusted people on Earth, or the Captain blessed them with additional powers of super tolerance and ultra rationality. Even the group’s leader, the widow dear ol’ dad was cheating on to produce this little family, seems immune to any feelings of jealousy or anger over the way this whole thing came about. She’s half caretaker and half business, like Aunt May and Nick Fury rolled into one.

Jay Faerber writes a story that’s shockingly brief in this mini-sized zero issue, even taking its dollar price tag into consideration. It doesn’t really feel like a fully finished plot, it’s more like an outline with some rough dialog thrown in so the letterer has something to do with his time. Although the teaser text on its back cover proclaims that Dynamo 5 #0 features a story that’s slowed down enough to provide a “perfect jumping-on point” for new readers, I’d be more inclined to say it came to a screeching halt. The only lesson I learned here is that outside their power set, each character is pretty much the same and they can instantly solve any problem through the use of the handy-dandy dimensional portal that’s kept front and center within the team’s HQ.

The issue’s artwork, provided by series co-creator Mahmud A. Asrar, gets the job done well enough. A garish red and blue color palette spoils his character designs for the primary team, but the more subdued scheme sported by the issue’s villain is proof that he knows what he’s doing. Asrar’s action scenes are sometimes tough to follow, especially when he tries to get cute and strays from traditional paneling, but I only saw that once or twice this month. For the most part, he’s a solid contributor with a healthy mix of realism and exaggeration that faintly reminded me of Alan Davis.

If you’re looking for a lot of depth and substance, this won’t hit the mark. It’s the barest of introductions with a quick brawl thrown in for good measure, and gave me little reason to investigate the regular series. If the ongoing picks up on some of the juicier threads promised by the book’s premise, it could be all right. But if it’s just lengthier doses of the same formula, I’ll keep my distance. Flip through this and leave it on the shelf; it isn’t bad at all… just quite generic.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 5

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