Dynamo Joe #1
Welcome once again Ancient Historians to the column with class, clarity and charisma that leaves you wanting more! This week we're talking about a very exciting book for people who want Gundam but less so, Dynamo Joe! Dynamos are giant space mechs that are used for War or something, we don't see this issue.
We open on a lot more talking about interstellar diplomacy than giant robot action which culminates in launch of a new giant robot, which promptly malfunctions and is stopped by another giant robot. Although schemes are afoot from a Scotty looking dude not much actual conflict occurs this issue.
I want to like Dynamo Joe, but really I can’t seem to get into this retread of a million better stories. John Ostrander packs the pages with dialogue to the point of exhaustion (it takes me 2 tries to finish this book every time) and surprisingly little happens when you get into it. I don’t hate what we get this issue I just wish we got more robot fights and less world building. Apparently this was originally planned as a 3 issue mini and it got stretched to 15 issues to complete the story before being cancelled and that makes a lot of sense this issue is packed in a way conducive to a shorter series. Like a lot of First Comics series this series spun out of a series of backup stories which I admittedly haven’t read so maybe this issue makes better sense within a larger collected narrative but as a single first issue by itself it’s a bit of a dud.
The art by series creator Doug Rice is solid for the most part with some inconsistencies especially with faces at odd angles but luckily this book isn’t about faces it’s about robots. The robots look fantastic in a brief action scene with some cool effects and a bit of action. The inks by John Nyberg & Brian Thomas are tight and expressive without detracting from the linework and space sequences are rendered excellently. That black void is harder to nail than you might think especially working traditionally. The colors by Rick Taylor are excellent especially noteworthy are the space scenes with the robot that do a lot of dynamic shading and I really like the scene where the Galax-C class ship destroys the asteroid. On a less positive note this issue is difficult to read as a result of combining Ostrander’s dense text with Willie Schubert’s lettering, which is a bit on the small side and MULTICOLORED! On the first page alone there are 4 different colors on the narration boxes, which is insane.
To my knowledge this series has never been collected but looking through Ebay I see copies in good shape for as little as $2-3 and even lots of the full series for $25-30.
If you like giant robot books you probably already have a favorite one, maybe read that instead.
ANCIENT HISTORY #21: DYNAMO JOE
Writing - 6/106/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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