Comics Bulletin Reviews The Standard #2!
July 29, 2011
I’m really excited today, because of this great review from the famous Comics Bulletin. The first issue was also reviewed by the site, getting a respectable 3.5 bullets out of 5. Bill Janzen gave this second issue a brilliant 4.5 out of 5. Check out what he had to say:
It’s always a shot in the dark when I read a comic from an independent comic studio. On the one hand, I love reading a comic that’s not from one of the major publishers because I get to be introduced to all new characters in an all-new universe and don’t have to worry about ridiculous retcons or intrusive event stories. On the other hand, half the time the comics range from mediocre to being more terrible than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen… if that’s possible.
People tend to say there are no new ideas anymore. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but even if it were true, a brand new spin on an old concept can be just as good. The Standard begins the classic Superman-esque character but from there takes a hard right straight into brand-new territory. For those of you who didn’t catch the first issue (and if you didn’t, go buy it. Right now. Seriously.) basically The Standard was a superhero for decades before retiring and letting his sidekick take over his name and mantle. The problems began in Issue #1, when the new Standard ended up being a corporate sellout.
The hard part of describing this issue is that I don’t want to spoil the conclusion to Issue One. So how do I describe it? First of all, I’ll simply state that overall both issues have been outstanding. At the risk of gushing here, this is the kind of rare gem that comics readers are lucky to find. The fact that it’s from an independent studio makes it all the more impressive.
Plus, I can at least give you some glimpses of what happens in this second issue. In this issue, we see how The Standard first met his sidekick, we learn what has become of the original Standard since his retirement and there’s more of the shadowy and disturbing villain and the mystery of the missing child that the new Standard has been looking for. After reading the outstanding first issue and seeing its shocking ending, my fear was that this would be a flash-in-the-pan series that used up its one trick in the first issue. Luckily, in Issue 2 writer John Lees showed that he’s got more in store for us. But what’s really amazing is that The Standard, with its top-notch plotting and writing, is his first comic he’s ever published.
The art is also impressive. While Jonathan Rector’s art doesn’t stand up to the superstars of the industry yet it could still easily fit into an issue from either Marvel or DC. The action sequences have impact (I really felt one punch in the issue particular), the characters all have distinctive looks and emotions, and the framing and story progression is dynamic from start to finish. The cover alone shows the dramatic touch that Rector is capable of.
Overall, both issues of The Standard have been a fresh new take on some old comic book themes with a fantastic story that combines drama and action with a nice touch of humor and that’s complemented well by the eye-catching art. If you’re a fan of superheroes at all I can’t recommend enough that you pick this up. The Standard is worth a piece of your comic budget and Lees is a writer that I hope to see a lot more of in the future.
For the full review and rating, plus preview images from the comic, check out the review on Comics Bulletin.
I’ve talked before about how long I’ve been visiting Comics Bulletin as a fan and reader, how long I’ve respected their expansive reviews archive, and how much it means to be reviewed on the site. But I’d just like to once again thank Comics Bulletin, and especially Bill Janzen, for his support of the title. I know that, as a reader, a great review from Comics Bulletin makes me much more likely to try a book I might otherwise never have heard of. So I hope there are people like me out there who will read this and give The Standard a shot. Regardless, these reviews are really appreciated. Thanks again.