Review by: Branden Murray
Written/Drawn by: Jamal Igle
Colors: Ross Hughes
Letters: Full Court Press
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 25, 2016
Publisher: Action Labs
Actionverse is an event comic currently being published by Action Labs (one of my new publishing crushes). This crossover brings together the creative minds and properties of over 20 different creators together to create one single unified “Actionverse” Universe. Issues #0, 1, & 2 featured characters such as Molly Danger, Midnight Tiger, Stray, F1rst Hero (Jake Roth) and Cascade (Kyle Scordato).
Yes, I do understand this site is supposed to be for DC related comics, topics, and shenanigans but in the lull I’ve found myself lately, while I wait for Rebirth to start, I’ve been able to expand my horizons a bit. Action Labs has received most of that attention from me and before everyone rolls their eyes and questions whether or not I’m not on their payroll hear me out first and read on. Full disclosure, I’m not getting any sweet Action Lab money I’m still punching that time card at the Ol’ box factory.
I’m a big fan of combined universes and the continuity that comes with them. It’s really one of the main reasons I love superhero comics in general. Actionverse is Action Labs first foray at a shared universe so here you get in on the ground floor with characters they’ve published previously. With that all out there did I find myself in over my head on this endeavor and have to hunt down hundreds of dollars in trades to understand what’s going on? Remember I’m punching that before mentioned time card so I can’t do that. Or did they cater to my inner dummy and ease me along with enough information to peek my interests?
The elevator pitch, to catch you up, for issues Zero and One was quite simple. The concept was to introduce and bring these preexisting characters together for a shared purpose. In this instance we are dealing with a villain, named Kyle Scordato a.k.a. Cascade, who is lost in this multiverse, has a metal arm, and the technology to “jump” to different worlds. He doesn’t sound like such a bad guy right? Well each time Cascade rebuilds his “tech” to try transport home, a la Quantum Leap but without the fun of becoming a woman at times, he destroys the world he leaves behind.
In this Quantum Leap comparison you can see yourself almost feeling bad for Cascade, but Sam Beckett wasn’t blowing up things up when he “jumped” and that can tend to taints ones charm some. Eventually Cascade runs into the F1rst Hero on a world he’s jumped to. He deduces that he can use the F1rst Hero’s powers, combined with his tech, as a type of “hack” to jump instead of having to build a new machine each time and destroy the world left behind. Let me break here to mention this is all a blast up to this point. I don’t recall having this much fun since being kicked out of Laser-Tron.
As issue two kicks off we see the F1rst Hero begin to understand the world he’s been unwillingly sent to by Cascade. F1rst Hero immediately runs into Molly Danger, stuck here as a young girl, from another world, with a Superman level power set.
Molly and F1irst Hero make nice quickly and from here Molly introduces him to her base of operations. Their whereabouts are quickly discovered by Cascade, who escaped earlier, so Molly and F1rst Hero are called into action to take care of business with a little team-up. From here it’s not long before Cascade realizes he is out matched and escapes again but has somehow received a power boost and “leveled up” after the fight scene ends.
We end the issue with a duel cliffhanger and the introduction to two new characters at this point in the story we haven’t seen in any of the three issues so far. The first is Medula, who looks to be dressed like Skeletor with a brain covered in glass as a face, so you know he’s on the up and up and has no plans for world domination. Our second cliffhanger shows a woman being saved from a mugging in the shadows of the city. As she goes to thank our “hero”, named Virtue, he utters a polite enough “thank you” before we are treated to a nice little twist I’m not going to spoil because I want you to take my recommendation here and give this series a chance.
At this point it’s hard not to enjoy what’s going on throughout the entire book. This is all new to me and I’m thoroughly enjoying the entire package. Being introduced to this new universe has been a seamless experience for me and I feel like I should have more questions about who the players are in the story so far but I don’t at all.
Credit goes to Jamal Igle, who did both writing and art duties on this issue. The experience he delivered never feels over explained or bogged down with information all while providing a perfect balance of humor and story. Art on the issue is excellent throughout the book, the fights, the backgrounds, and the splash pages are detailed and enjoyable.
Ross Hughes bright colors make everything pop off the page and pleasurable to look at and come back to. I got a great understanding in the little I’ve read so far of this universes villain and motivations and what everyone is capable of no research necessary. We big fans of not researching things around here so bonus points for that as well!
Bits and Pieces:
I for one can’t wait to see what else Actionverse has in store from here on out. If you’re not allowed to get your Laser-Tron on or you just miss some good old Sam Beckett type action, feel free to join me on the rest of this universe building action adventure.