Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Jump Leads, Chapter One

Hey, folks. Jackson here, with an impromp-Tuesday evening update. 'bout a year ago, I started coming across ads for a comic called Jump Leads. I read a handful of pages from the first issue, and it was one of those comics where you recognize it's a quality job, but it fails to grab you. Largely because you read a buttload of webcomics already. But this evening, on a whim, I picked it back up and read all the way through the first issue.

What's the deal with Jump Leads, then? It's reality-hopper sci-fi: a couple members of the Lead Service, a sort of reality enforcement agency thing, go on a live training exercise that goes wrong and strands them in the multiverse. It's also got a fairly humorous tone (the references to pop culture and sci-fi strained the verisimilitude a hair for me, but overall it's good humor), and its protagonists have a familiar comic-and-straight-man vibe going. Meaney is the overenthusiastic numbskull--except that he's got a fairly decent grasp on the rules behind the multiverse, owing to his overenthusiasm. He's very much committed to his career as a Jump Lead. Llewellyn, on the other hand...cynical, detached, not sure what he's doing with his life. Both of them are still trainees--Llewellyn for the fifth time. I found Llewellyn the more interesting of the two, though Meaney is kinda likeable for his youthful energy too. When he's not being annoying, that is.

Overall, I liked the first issue. It's a solid intro story script-wise, nothing too fancy, takes a couple chances but largely a standard setup. Entertaining. The presentation is comic-book-style (a prudent business move, as it makes it easy to produce a print version), and the art is good: well-rendered angular sci-fi machinery, and a good grasp of both realism and stylization. One of my turnoffs on my initial read from a year ago was that the character designs looked kind of monkeyish, but they're very expressive and suited to the humorous tone. An additional fun touch at the issue's end are the pages from the training manual, complete with Meaney and Llewellyn's notes scribbled in the margins. So is it worth a read? Well, it's good quality, and you've heard the premise--you know better than I do whether that sounds like your cup of tea. I know I'll probably head back to read the second issue at some point. Your call, amigos.

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