Written By Paul Ens
Art by J. Korim
Colors by Jessie Lam
Letters by Troy Peteri
Red 5 Comics
Cover price: $2.95; On sale now
For a new publisher, Red 5 Comics has done a good job of making a name for itself, getting some buzz on their Atomic Robo book and hitting the deadlines for a good number of other books. From what I’ve seen so far, they are putting out a wide range of books with some great art and stories and very pleasing production quality, all good things to do when getting a new company off the ground. My impression is that these guys really enjoy comics, and are not just doing it for the money, but also for the love of the art form.
Neozoic is the second series I’ve read from them, and while it shows that this is early work from the creators, the nuts and bolts are there, they just need a little tightening. It’s written by Paul Ens, who happens to be the publisher of Red 5 Comics, so you might think this could turn into some kind of vanity project but it’s well done enough that it doesn’t come off as such.
The story takes place in a realm where dinosaurs still roam and the humans of the Predator Defense League are charged with protecting the populace. After an attack in the first issue, the team makes a break back to their city with a kid in tow, but apparently the kid is part of a society that the regular people look down on or are not supposed to associate with.
To be honest, the story is a bit hard to get into as there’s a lot of stuff that’s left unexplained. A word of advice: if your recap page leaves the reader confused and not having a clue as to who’s who and what’s going on, you may want to rethink what you’ve put there. Using a lot of story jargon and terms is a surefire way to not give the reader the info they need to get into the story. Because of that, it took me a few pages to really figure out what was going on. It’s not that big a deal, but in a new book, you really need to be careful not to scare off potential readers, and accessibility is very important. Really, this is just one tiny aspect of the book, and I shouldn’t nitpick so much, but it’s something that does matter when you’re trying to attract new readers. The story has some good moments and the characters are introduced fairly well. I just wish there was a bit more explanation. There are some good mysteries established and the characters are likable enough.
Art is by J. Korim who uses a very manga-influenced style. It comes off looking a lot like Humberto Ramos’ art without being so over the top. The action is smooth, and the dinosaurs look great. It’s got a very clean and polished look, and really added to my enjoyment of the book. The colors by Jessie Lam also really help the art, giving the book an almost animated feel. The colors jump off the page, and bring the reader into the world. The art is enough to make me look at future issues.
This is a book to look out for, with some decent writing and some very pleasing art. Besides, it’s got a lot of great dinosaur action, and I can always read that. It may not be a Devil Dinosaur revival, but it’s the next best thing. Red 5 is setting itself out as a line of books to look for. Their books are kind of all over the place in terms of style and subject, but all of their books have a layer of professionalism that will establish them as a great new publisher — which is no easy thing in this crazy world we call comics.