September 20, 2011

The Ballad of Alibi Jones

(Disclosure - a PDF copy was provided for purposes of review. If you would like me to write a review of your book, please use this convenient contact form)

When we last saw Mr. Alibi Jones, he was in a short, rather humorous piece in Earthbound Presents # 1. Now, writer (and Zone 4 amigo) Mike Luoma presents three - count 'em - three tales in The Adventures of Alibi Jones, now available through sites like Indy Planet. .

In all honesty, I enjoyed the book - a lot more than the one-shot story in Earthbound Presents This is the kind of comic that's worth bugging your local comic shop owner to stock....or if that owner is a DC/Marvel zombie, make the decision to head to a cooler comics shop.

There are three short stories in this volume, which is priced much cheaper than Justice League #1 - one is an almost classic hard-boiled tale of espionage and intrigue; one is a noir-ish flashback, and the third is a time travel-tinged episode. But all of them happen within the same science-fiction/space opera framework, and although this kind of genre-mixing might be awkward, Mike pulls it off.

(That's the power of being a podcaster - I don't get to call him only "Luoma"; he and I are on a first name basis. That, my friends, is the power of Zone 4)

The art...well, there are a variety of artists on this book, and my personal favorite is Meisha, who handles the two "main" tales - there's a really strong sense of animation to the work (both in terms of appearance and in action) which seems to fit the space opera/espionage atmosphere of the work. Rhys Ap Gwyn's work on the flashback tale "Father's Day" shares a similar quality - although a little bit more on the noir side than on the space opera side, the art really helps sell the overall tone without seeming too overbearing....or too cartoony.

One of the advantages of living on a limited budget is that it forces sharper decision making skills, making the decision to spend that comics dollar more wisely. It may not have all the hype of the latest reboot, but in a better world, The Adventures of Alibi Jones would have a lot more PR muscle behind it.

 Buy and read this book. You'll thank me later.