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Phantom Squad #1

by F.D. White on May 05, 2015

Writer: Cedbill
Artist: Luke Stone
Colorist: Patrik Mock

I've been a fan of action films ever since I was young. The violence and sexuality of these kinds of films appealed to the young kid I once was. I can't explain why, it was just natural magnetism. Now that I'm a grown up who pays bills, a well-made action film is one of my favorite theater-going experiences. Films like Furious 7, John Wick, The Dark Knight trilogy, all compel me not only with ridiculous technical action sequences that are a marvel to behold, but combined with tongue-in-cheek humor and tight scripts they become something more than "just an action film." I'd argue that they can be considered great films period.

Comics work in a similar way, slightly more stifled by panels than the moving image, but a well-done action comic can be a marvel to behold. Tight scripts, dynamic action, and smart use of paneling can go a long way to take a pedestrian story idea and elevate it to something great.

Coast Comic's Phantom Squad feels like it could be on it's way to that type of elevated action comic, but it's mired in problems like stilted pencils, confusing paneling, bland coloring, and generic tropes. It feels like a college film student trying to make an action epic without the budget necessary to do so. Luke Stone's line work is at points brilliant and exciting, while other times it is boring and sketchy. There's a lack of consistency, that is probably just first issue jitters that will be worked out over time. His art could be helped immensely by a better colorist. The colors on the page don't pop or feel like there's any depth. They feel unfinished.

Despite it's shortcomings, there's a lot to like about Phantom Squad. The opening action sequence is a total blast and has a very cinematic feel. Cell (not the DragonBall Z character) at first appears to be the generic stoic action hero, but there's small bits of humor from him that are necessary to the book (see: Cell waving casually to a SWAT team member from another building after killing an entire other team).

Phantom Squad isn't perfect, but it's hard to be perfect on your first time out. Once this creative team finds some cohesion this book will be an absolute thrillride.

Our Score:


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