Nothing But Comics is about to hit our two year mark and in observance of the sites anniversary, every Tuesday from now until we finish, one of our staff members will list off their favorite series, runs or issues of all time. This week it’s Dean Continue reading Tuesday Top Ten: All Time Favorites Dean
At Nothing But Comics, we are excited to read the upcoming IDW Publishing comics series Onyx, co-created by writer Chris Ryall and artist Gabriel Rodriguez. Ryall and Rodriguez impressed us with their work on Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, and Rodriquez provided the stunning artwork for one of our favorite comics series, Locke and Key.
We wanted to learn more about Onyx, so we recruited superhero the Red Bee to ask Ryall about the comic.
- Valiant comics will be celebrating there 25 years with a universe spanning event called The Book Of Death. They have also created a series of animated origin shorts on the companies Youtube page.
- Darkhorse Comics announced ten new series including the return of their Barb Wire & King Tiger properties in addition to creator owned work from Skott Kollins & Aaron Lopestri and more.
- IDW announced several new series, including the previously mentioned Onyx in addition to a new Godzilla in Hell series and more.
Artist Gabrielle Rodriguez of Locke & Key, Nemo: Return To Slumberland & Adventures Of Superman will team with writer Chris Ryall of Zombies vs Robots, Mars Attacks First Born & The Hollows for a creator owned series titled Onyx to be released in July of 2015 by IDW. More info at IDW
The debut issue of Chris Ryall & Gabriele Rodriguez new creator owned series Onyx, is marked by fantastic visuals that are handicapped by weak writing. Onyx is the story of an asteroid crashing onto earth with a genetic virus that mutates all living things into monsters that it comes in contact with. Onyx is an alien whose planet was destroyed from the virus and is trying to stop it from spreading on earth or if that’s not possible, destroy the earth itself, all while wearing a awesome space armor. Yes, it’s a cliché mashup, but that’s not really what’s the problem with the writing. Clichés are essentially writing short cuts in genre, they’re a tool. What’s problematic with Onyx is that there isn’t a whole lot to sell the writing outside of the allure of it’s premise. Charachter’s are flat and basically exist to further the plot via exposition whereas the plot itself doesn’t really do much of anything besides what’s expected. Introduce problem, introduce character’s, action; and that’s fine when there is some craft in making the characters or problem interesting. Onyx fails in that sense as everything in it’s first issue is surface level. There is nothing unique or engaging to hold onto outside of what’s the minimum level of expectations based on what was already apparent about the book.
That’s a shame because Gabriele Rodriguez is fantastic in his art. Rodriguez signing an exclusive contract with IDW always looked like a risky proposition for the illustrator. While the companies always sold well off the strength of it’s licensced comics, Rodriguez is best left in a role that let’s his imagination run free. This was best exemplified on Locke & Key but it was readily apparent on the short lived Little Nemo title as well. How the artist navigates that further at IDW will be the true test, there are only so many licensed titles that IDW can play with in terms of a more expressionist style that Rodriguez uses, there is a limited number of creator owned slots at the publisher & there is even less writers to pair Rodriguez up with. That’s how you end up with a phonemenol art talent like Rodriguez drawing a book that’s written by executive Chris Ryall. And for his part, Rodriguez does some vibrant and lively work here. He helps push the pace at the boring parts while his monster illustrations are wildly dynamic and original. Through Rodriguez art, you see the potential of what could be a really cool comic at minimum but unfortunately, the other half of the book couldn’t get over the hump.
The debut issue of Onyx feels like wasted potential. When you have Image, Boom, Dark Horse & even Marvel/DC doing next level science fiction on such a consistent basis, with some of the best writers in the business, it’s not enough to just go straight genre with a great artist anymore. When reading Onyx, I couldn’t help but compare it with other debut’s from 2015, books like The Surface, Omega Men or Arcadia with similar ambitions and tones but also a vision from the writer that went beyond the obvious. Onyx will no doubt be a great looking book for however long it runs but I have a hard time believing it will be anything more then that.
Locke & Key Alpha #2, the final issue in the series came out yesterday. Patrick, Dean, and Alex took to the interwebs, fired up their respective emails, and produced the following