Review: Centipede #1
Writer: Max Bemis
Art: Eoin Marron
Colours: Chris O’Halloran
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Now, I’m more than comfortable with the sub-genre of video game-to-comic crossovers (and you may even be able to push me to name a few that weren’t absolute tosh), so, when Atari released the news that they were going full nostalgia mode with the comic format of the classic Centipede, realistically, it could have gone one of two ways. The original game is, of course, utterly unremarkable by today’s standards but owes its charm to it’s simplistic format and addictive playability. Players weren’t locked in moral battles over plot possibilities but instead garnered success by employing basic moves in return for longer gameplay. Can a comic format that balances wholly on plot even resemble the game? If the answer is no, should this even be considered a crossover? Does it really matter?
The crux of the matter for the reader, may begin with expectations. What should I be expecting? Is this going to have a retro look, or a regular modern format? Would there be a strange, Wreck It Ralph style ‘life inside a videogame’ thing going on? Instead, what the creators have gone for is a standard narrative based around a lone survivor of what can only be described as the centipede apocalypse. Dale Trell is recording his video diary of life on Sty-Rek, a deep space terraformed outcrop. The population has been decimated by the attacking centipede and her army of arachnid serfs. From there in, the plot is simple; Dell needs to locate the centipede so he can study its weaknesses and thus kill it. Dell’s haphazard character is likable enough though how he managed to become a lone survivor seems to be another story, or future issue no doubt.
So far, so good. Bemis (Worst X-Man ever, Crossed) has offered up a reasonable enough concept here, and with some skirmishes along the way, the action is notched up as we progress through the issue, to a minor climactic ending. The desire to read on throughout, is fed by the desire to meet the centipede itself, with the mind conjuring up weird and wonderful levels of grotesqueness for this world slaying beast. The artwork is cartoonish and over-exaggerated in style. Clean lines are disposed of in favour of a roughness that does seem to capture the war-torn appearance of the planet. Detail isn’t paramount, whereas, motion, movement and fluidity seem to matter more, especially to a character who’s on the move constantly. The kinesthetic feel is matched with some dulled palate tones. There is a lifelessness to the planet that’s been captured in the monotone frames. These are occasionally broken by the sudden splashes of ultra-bright fungal growths or explosions, which only make them appear unexpected, nay, alien. Flashbacks, on the contrary, were kept in an even more dulled monotone, and were thus obvious in their intent.
The one major drawback for me was the heavy handed use of oversized text boxes. There were stints of heavy explanation which, at times, utterly distracted from any of the artwork, or in fact, masked it. I’m not convinced that the background information was necessary, whether a first issue or not. Important detail has a way of getting out in comic-land and this felt too much too soon. That said, we do now have a backstory to take into all future issues.
So, final verdict – nostalgia might make you pick it up, the desire to see the centipede itself might keep you reading to the end, and the climax might make you buy the next issue. That’s three might’s, I know, but you might regret it if you don’t.
Thank you for reading our review of Centipede #1. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun S.
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