When we had the chance to chat with the team behind Batgirl, artist Babs Tarr talked about learning on the go and learning new things with each issue. Since her start on the book, you've been able to follow along and see Tarr grow as an artist with Batgirl. After reading locally published Project Shadow Breed #1 from Different Breed Comics, I look forward to the same journey with this crew.
PSB #1 shows a ton of promise and potential. Artist Matt Maldonado really shines in this dark and moody environment he's created along with writers Justin Bartz and Josh Schneider. His textures and lines are VERY strong. The main character, who operates under the codename Marrok, is especially well done. The characters move and take punishment in really natural ways for being supernatural creatures (to some extent).
Bartz and Schneider clearly have a lot planned for this world as well. The frenzied pace of the book is akin to Wolverine stories of the 90s, when he was a berserker before everyone wrote him all soft and leadery. It moves at breakneck speed and at some points, you do long for a pause to catch your breath. The action and exposition are heavy as the creators want to tell their story while not occupying the reader with an overburden of backlog at this point.
The lettering is a bit cluttered at times and the art occasionally gets lost behind the dialogue but there is strong dialogue as well. Marrok, Mr. Andrews and the rest of the cast seem to live in a world very aware of the concept of superheroes and clichés. It makes for some very enjoyable fight banter. Marrok's inner thoughts are also a big help to the scenes and give you a lot of exposition. In particular, the hero's complicated relationship with his "Old Man" is looking like it will develop as a major plot point giving emotional depth to this action mystery.
All in all, it's a solid #1. Any art is a growing process and for a starting point, this one has a ton to build on. The world and characters around Marrok are clearly constructed by Bartz and Schneider while Maldonado is playing beautifully with the mood through his lines and colors. Marrok himself holds mountains of intrigue as well as the shadow organization he battles against. There is a ton of potential in this book and it's done 100% here in West Michigan. Contact the guys at Different Breed for your copy now and watch as this book continues to improve.