Adventureman! #1 Review

by Olivier Roth on June 11, 2020

Script: Matt Fraction

Pencils & Colors: Terry Dodson

Inks: Rachel Dodson

Letters: Clayton Cowles

Design: Leonardo Olea

Published by: Image 


Adventureman! Is a comic book that can best be described as such: it takes a look back at the pulp stories of old and looks to modernize the concept. And do Fraction, the Dodsons and Cowles succeed? For my money? A thousand times yes!


I have been a fan of pulp style stories for almost a decade now for the big adventure, the crazy scientific gadgets that never existed in that time, but may exist now and to peer into a different age of storytelling. However, reading these old stories, like The Avenger, Doc Samson, et al., you have to keep in mind, very much so, that these came out in a time where racism, colonialism, sexism and so forth were commonplace, and it did indeed bleed into the stories of the time. Having a writer of the caliber of Matt Fraction and the art duo supreme of Rachel and Terry Dodson helming this new project, I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about when it came to the content. 


And what content! Adventureman!’s first issue can best be described as this: an all out, action-packed fight that introduces Actionman and his compatriots as they face off against the evils of Baroness and Baron Bizarre and their group of evil compatriots, including Zeppelins with halloween esque grinning faces, with a twist that I honestly did not see coming. 


Then we are introduced to Claire, a single mother who owns her mother’s second-hand bookstore, her family, and her son Tommy who seemingly get mixed up in an adventure that she did not see coming.


As you shall see, this issue is almost evenly split in two with the first half concentrating on Adventureman and the second half on Claire. They both act as great introductions to the characters and what to expect from them. Fraction concentrates more on the “action” part and less on character development for Adventureman, but there is a supplement at the end that was added to introduce the reader to the initial ideas Fraction had for Adventureman and his crew, as well as the villains. 


Claire’s side of the story provides some great character development - she’s a single mother to a son named Tommy, who we learn is a voracious reader/learner, she owns her late mother’s used-book shop - as an aside, Dodson’s design of the bookshop makes me want to own something like that one day - and we are introduced to her family - her father, step-mother and her six “hyper-achieving” sisters. Oh, and she has noise-induced hearing loss and has hearing-aids. 


For those who are familiar with Matt Fraction’s previous work, you’ll know that he is a writer that has usually very tight scripts that move the action and plot along and has some great, often funny, dialogue. Adventureman! Is no exception. You can tell after reading this issue that this is a passion project for him and that he has, as mentioned in the back matter, been percolating this idea for a while. It’s definitely up there as some of his best work up-to-date. 


The icing on the cake of this new series is the amazing art-team duo of Terry and Rachel Dodson. I have been a big fan of theirs ever since I saw their work in Wonder Woman back in the mid-2000s and it is always a pleasure seeing their work. In this new series, I think the best praise I can give them is their character design work - I mean, they have created unique designs for roughly 20 + different characters… and we are only on issue #1! 


In addition to the character design, Terry’s line work is impeccable as always and Rachel’s ink work is the definition of complimentary. Each page could have been extremely “busy”, but they come off beautiful in the end. 


Clayton Cowles lettering is the strawberry on top of the icing on the cake. As a reader, I don’t always notice the lettering, but here, you can’t help but enjoy Cowles’ different styles utilized to introduce all the characters at the beginning - and I mean different styles because I think each character in Adventureman’s team (and the baddies) each get a specific font. 


Adventureman! #1 is just the type of fun, adventure laden comic that is very easy to enjoy. It’s also a great bang for your buck at 64 pages for the regular price of $3.99. It’s a definite buy from me! 

Our Score:


A Look Inside