In the not so distant past A1 Comics brought together some talents that are titans of the Industry today. Names like Dave Gibbons, Neil Gaiman, and Alan Moore. Created by Dave Elliot and Gary Leach in 1989 and published by Atomeka Press, A1 was an anthology series that put out bold titles with some very creative teams. Pairing together creators and artists from around the globe it broke ground. After a good run it ceased. It was later revived faded out and recently revived again with the help of original creators Dave Elliot, Gary Leach, and new to the party Titan Books.
I recently grabbed the whole gaggle, issues 1-4 and delved in. I hadn’t reviewed the prior three so the whole thing was going to be new to me. The first four issues cover three story arcs: The Weirding Willows penned by Dave Elliot and art by Barnaby Bagenda, CarpeDiem penned by W.H. Rauf and art by Rhoald Marcellius, and Odyssey again with Elliot and art by Garrie Gastonny. Keeping with the tradition of the series created over 20-years-ago it too is bold and ambitious.
Of the three stories the Weirding Willows seems to shine the most prominent. It hasn’t yet grabbed a full scale story yet and the meat of it is still to come, but the flavor created by artist Bagenda and the extremely well woven story created by Elliot have sparked what could be a blaze with character’s that are interesting and disturbingly familiar. With each issue bringing us new characters to the “Weir”. This most recent one introducing Frankenstein’s Monster’s giant purple dinosaur. Dr. Moreau is creating flying monkeys for the Wicked Witch and Alice is on steam punk quest with the rabbits.
CarpeDiem is interesting enough though the least of the three for my taste. Not to say it’s creative team fails on any part. I can certainly see what they’re doing here and appreciate the style. While a giant walking and talking 8-BAll leading a Charlie’s Angels type strike team flavorfully named after the days of the week is certainly appealing and the streamlined-twisted style of Marcellius are invoking it just doesn’t do it for me. The last issue has the 8-Days gang up against a tattered stuffed tiger for unknown reasons. They fight their way to his totem poll tower taking heavy losses along the way and Sir Tuesday comically can’t catch a break nor the chance to show how well he can wield a golf club. Still a marvelous display of what the new A1 has brought into the comic world.
The third installment in this Anthology is another story created by Elliot called Odyssey. It took me a few clicks to figure out what the actual Title of this story was. It says, “Odyssey” right across the title page but on the side panel it only lists the name Atomeka (the original publishing co. that put out a1 in ’89). Odyssey seems to be really interesting and possibly borrows a few character elements from another world. But what story doesn’t when you think about it. Character’s named General Glory and Major Mercury fight for what appears to be the U.S. military on various missions that are leading to a bigger event and the return on some old A1 characters. In issue #4 Glory saves himself by jumping from a window nonchalantly while a soldier stays behind to rescue some kids midst a disaster. It certainly seems to building toward some struggle with the grey area, with Glory playing a role that may not be so heroic and the higher ups declaring he is dispensable. With issue #4 I can definitely sense a something special for this title.
With that, I do recommend you pick up A1 #4 available now from Atomeka and Titan Comics and if you have’t already grab the the back issues of 1-3. I’d give the whole series thus far a solid four of five, and this issue the same.
Feel free to disagree with me on twitter @werelwolforgin or @8daysageek or even in the comments box below.