Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sun Bakery #1 Review

Half Baked

Writer: Corey Lewis
Artist: Corey Lewis
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: February 22, 2017
Cover Price: $4.99
Review by: Repairman Jack

I knew nothing about Sun Bakery before coming across it. I saw the cover and the first couple pages and got pretty interested fast as I’ve long been a fan of Japanese Manga and the idea of anthology magazines or magazines encompassing multiple stories each week or month. This book gave me the impression that this was from a creative with the same ideals in mind when this book came to mind. So did the book live up to this excitement and did I enjoy it overall? Check out after the jump to see my thoughts.
Going in to the first pages of the book we get a quick little synopsis of what is included in the book and the idea around the book. I will say immediately that I think these small synopses do a better job at telling these stories and they are more interesting than the stories come across. The first story is the best example of this in that the actual story is devoid of almost any dialogue. It’s just shy of a copyright lawsuit and really just makes it come off as Samus or Metroid fan dream. I wouldn’t really call it fan fiction as there is very little that actually happens. We get an Instigram obsessed Samus being all consumed by getting “perfect snap”, which doesn’t even come across in the art as it seems like the character is more consumed on capturing as many pictures as possible instead of the best picture possible. She ends up finding a Grumpy Cat infused Metroid, or a “Grumpy-Troid” and getting the picture end up getting herself in peril and that’s where this story ends.

After some handing over to the next story, which I will touch on later, we come to a very Shonen trope infused story. I’d say this story most encapsulates what this book seems to be going for, at least at a surface level. It’s a common Shonen story of some younger characters in a somewhat futuristic setting where they are given an excuse that predated technology or weaponry becomes the new standard. In this case we get guns are lost due to a sudden appearance of Aura Circles that render guns useless, only to be susceptible to swords. Then we get the video game like introduction of sword levels and the far off master. On the surface this seems like your usual Shonen fair in the way of premise and style, except we get very little in the way of what makes Shonen so lasting with the lack of character and the flipping of those well-worn tropes. We’re left with an interesting premise but nothing to really get us attached and to actually care to move forward on. It reads more as a preview and synopsis to get you interested in the main thing and it just didn’t resonate with me enough to check back for more.
With the third story in this book I think we get the best of the bunch in Bat Riders. The art is great, there is very little dialogue and what dialogue we do get is a little cringe inducing, but what this story does well is getting me interested for more. There’s a lot of small details in the art that could be seen as very nice world building and little hints of stuff to look forward to. We get a talking skateboard, a demonic branded bat as a weapon, signs explicitly stating “No expletive skateboarding”, a huge building just labeled “Pain Pillz”, you get hints of a spoiled relationship of some sort that quickly comes to a head when the other person shows up and insights a challenge to the protagonist. There is just so much in this short story with very little dialogue that can be viewed as very interesting and worth coming back for. Not a whole lot actually comes from the story besides the challenge going south and the protagonist taking a plunge, but there is a lot given here that could be interesting. If I could choose any story to be the focus of this book it would be this story. It has the style, it has the character and world building that is usually really prevalent in the Shonen Jump style that this book is going for, and it’s done in an interesting way with great art.

Tying all of these stories together with  get a Toonami inspired narrator that I actually enjoy the attempt at. Corey Lewis comes off in this book as someone very inspired by Toonami and I really like the approach of broadening the idea of a character itself bridging the gaps between these stories. I don’t know if I particularly like the idea of the character Corey ends up using, but I do give credit for the idea as it was a strong distinction from Toonami and hasn’t been seen in many other venues. After more of this character we seem to get a short tease of another story that may end up being in the next issue of Sun Bakery. I say it’s a tease because it’s a little short compared to the other stories and it’s labeled as a bonus, but the small bit we get I do find interesting, but I find it hard to really go on based on what we get. It could very well be a small cast off of a story that doesn’t go any further or it could be built upon; it just mostly seems like a cast-off in its current form and not much else.

Overall I see Sun Bakery as a very surface level approach to the Shonen Jump genre. It has the style and it has the basic ideas, but it really seems to miss the mark on what makes Shonen Jump long lasting and inspiring when it comes to the fandom. You get these stories that almost seem like a Shonen Jump check list rather than finding a good story that fits into the Shonen Jump style. When you read a large amount of Shonen Jump stories you see how a lot of their stories can be similar in approach, but where they broaden out and differentiate themselves is where those stories become interesting and it’s what gives Shonen Jump it’s feeling the most. This book just comes off as trying to ape the style of Shonen Jump rather than being actually inspired by Shonen Jump, and that’s where it really loses me.

Bits and Pieces:
Very ambitious for one creators undertaking with all the art and story being done by one person, but it comes off as more of a check list inspired imitation rather than a Shonen inspired inspiration. The art is varying and great in places, but the story is very lacking and sometimes better defined in the synopses than the story themselves. With one story being actually interesting and one basically fan fiction it’s hard to see much reason to follow-up with this in the future.


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