Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Double Jumpers #1 Advance Review

Double Jumpers issue #1,
on sale May 30th 2012
Almost two weeks ago I attended WonderCon in Anaheim, CA as a correspondent for the overly heckled yet popular comic rumor site Bleeding Cool. On a Saturday night (while most WonderCon geeks convened at the Masquerade with high hopes of wardrobe malfunctions), my entourage and I met together over drinks and good laughs at the bar within the Hilton Hotel. Seated next to us was another amusing group of WonderCon attendees, among them was one Dave Dwonch, the Creative Director of Action Lab Comics. Dave and I hit it off instantly, discussing old '80's flicks, comparing the works of Alan Moore to his real life persona, and most importantly, drinking cold beer. Somewhere in midst of the night life, Dave informed me he is the author of several comic titles and his latest one Double Jumpers (with art by Bill Blankenship) will appear in comic stores in two months time. We made sure to exchange cards before the night was through and I promised I would swing by his booth the next day and obtain an advance copy.

Now let me admit something here and now before I conduct this review of Double Jumpers. When I promise to review a comic for a friend, acquaintance, or random internet avatar, there are several grieving questions that plague my conscience: what if this comic book sucks? What if this comic book really sucks? And, what if this comic book really, really fucking absolutely sucks? Okay, so maybe the question is merely  rephrased to the point of exaggeration, but realistically I dread telling someone that the amount of time and money they pour into their creative endeavors is an absolute waste. Thankfully, Double Jumpers does NOT fall in this category. It's an absolute blast!

Double Jumpers tells the story of Jason Mulliet and his team of video game programmers on the brink of releasing the hottest new virtual reality game The Dungeon Lords 2: The Darkheart Chronicles. While attending an E3 event in Las Vegas the team is criticized for being over budget and unable to meet their set release date. After this embarrassing public display, Jason and his team are put under pressure by their boss Danielle Miyamoto (who happens to be Jason's lover) and scramble together in an all night gaming session in effort to discover and rid all the gremlins plaguing their new game. Unfortunately, midway through their gaming experience an innocent hotel maid spills an energy drink over their gaming console which somehow traps the game programmers inside The Dungeon Lords 2. But the fun does not end there; the video game character's personas are now trapped within the bodies of the game programmers who are now free to run amok in Las Vegas. This is where issue one ends.

The first aspect about Double Jumpers that surprised me was Dwonch's remarkable talent at plotting. Most independent comics tend to be scatterbrain and move slowly while leaving loose ends. If anything Double Jumpers uses each and every page to benefit the storytelling and keeps the pacing constant, there is not a moment where the read slows down and breaks away on a random and unnecessary tangent. Dwonch holds a steady control of each and every page and the same can be said about his dialogue. Read the very first page and you will see just how it conveys mystery, intrigue, and humor. All of which Dwonch excels at.

If Double Jumpers needs a defining genre, I would categorize it as a comedy-fantasy. Dwonch certainly brings his A-game with the comedic writing, but more importantly artist Blankenship truly shines with his comic character portrayals. Blankenship knows how to really work a character's expression for comedic effect (once again, I will refer you to the first page) but he also has the ability to depict wonderfully attractive and exotic settings like when he illustrates the preview for The Dungeon Lords 2. As a reader, you would swear you flipped the page to a different story. As the comic progresses and more attention is given to Blankenship's art you will spot fun little details in the background, like cosplayers dressed like Link and Megaman in the background of the E3 event. These quirky tidbits keep the comic lighthearted and are particularly enjoyable once discovered.

Overall, with Dwonch's entertaining storytelling and Blankenship's phenomenal artwork, this new series is guaranteed to garner many laughs and many fans. Someone needs to call Hollywood, because this comic is comedic gold and deserves a film adaptation immediately. But even more so (and it makes me incredibly happy to say this), this comic book rocks! This comic book really rocks. This comic book really, really fucking absolutely rocks!

Rating: 9/10

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