This site is new. Reviews are new to this site. Paddy Lennon graced me with a digital review copy of the Flare One-Shot comic earlier this week, and it should be said that I typically avoid reviews due to the struggle of maintaining objectivity. in lieu of an official review policy and statement (maybe when the DCC madness subsides I can get on that), please accept here and now that I will not be giving a star-rating on any reviews here. What I will do is tell you what I liked, and point out some things that I thought might have helped improve a comic, coming from someone with a storytelling background and some limited experience in design and illustration.
Onto the review!
One thing that should be noted about this one-shot comic is that it isn’t a single, self-contained story. This has its ups and downs. On the plus side, we get a nice introduction to three distinct protagonists. I liked the different stories told within the comic book. They were unique tales, told from very different worlds, but all by one author; they shared a voice, and it was a comfortable read. On the flip side of this, there’s a regrettable absence of depth to the stories overall. I was keenly aware that there were larger stories being hinted at within the pages of the comic, but before we were given any further experiences of the characters or the world they inhabit, the next story would begin.
Don’t get me wrong, this was a fun book. The collection was enjoyable. Paddy Lennon can certainly tell a good story – he does it three times within one issue. I only wish the stories might have been longer. (The related novels Lennon wrote before this comic, I suppose, are where we might get our fix of the longer stories.) For newcomers to Lennon’s work, there can be an absence of backstory to everything that happens within the pages of this book.
However, despite the limited length of the stories – understandable given the constraints of a single-issue comic – they work well as a set. Perhaps more significantly, Lennon and co. told these tales with different illustration styles taking control of each story. Where First Date is told as a full-colour, vibrant superhero tale, Wolfhound is a gritty, scratchy noir tale. The final story, One Day in Tokyo, is told with a mix of the vibrancy of First Date, with a nostalgic pallet during the story’s most critical points.
The creative team behind the Flare One-Shot comic say an awful lot together, demonstrating the amazing potential of this comics team. While readers may find themselves looking for more, we can rest assured that Lennon’s stories are not confined to panelled pages – Flare and Shooting Star are both also available as novels, minus the graphic elements. The book is definitely worth checking out, and launches at Dublin Comic Con 2016.