2.02.2012

Who Are The Thirty Six?

The Thirty Six #1 (Fossil Creek Productions): Kristopher White delivers a really strong high concept hook with The Thirty Six, essentially adapting a Kaballistic legend with the type of built-in potential that already feels like a movie pitch, about 36 individuals each possessing special powers that are able to save the world from certain doom. You can hear the movie man’s voice-over in the trailer now, can’t you? “Ancient legend says blah… but when dark forces rise to blah, and the world is threatened, there are always… The Thirty Six!” White teams with artist George Zapata, whose work I’d previously sampled in Rockstar Scientists, and it’s still quite strong. There’s a rare occasional panel that feels a bit rushed or is devoid of any background detail, but for the most part Zapata’s aesthetic is full of heavy line weight, interesting “camera” placement and angle choices, along with nice variations in figure scale – all little things I look for to determine how accomplished at visual storytelling up-and-coming artists are. Another clue is the raw panel to panel ability, and while Zapata has some scene transitions that feel a bit choppy (Noam and Lenore getting into the car, for example), it’s clear and smooth for most of the journey. The crisp coloring from veteran film colorist Micki Zurcher also lends tremendous energy, particularly in the kinetic action sequences, such as when the golem breaks into Levi’s house. Overall, the art reminds me of a hybrid of a more indie Guy "BPRD" Davis and someone like Jeff “Interman” Parker. On the scripting side, I found White’s dialogue rusty in just the earliest passages. For example, lines like “the name’s Noam” just don’t pass the “out loud test,” as nobody really ever talks in staged phrases like that, except in movies. However, the writer quickly works the kinks out and things are humming the deeper into the story you get. The writing is filled with enough pop culture drops (Tolkien, Trek, Dr. Who, etc.) and has enough engaging mythological/religious/historical facts, such as the protagonist currently possessing The Staff of Moses(!), to resonate with a modern audience. It’s a compelling premise executed with vibrant indie flair. Check it out at www.the36.net. Grade A-.

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