What is there to say about SSBF? Not a lot, really.
It’s chock-full of stuff, but not a lot of it hits particularly hard or is of any real consequence, at least to me. Whether it’s because of me not really caring about most (any?) of the anti-heroes in this book at this time, the anti-hero shtick being done to death these days (could we BE getting more Harley books?!), or just a general overstuffing of events and intros in this #1, I just couldn’t get into it past the Katana bit, hence it getting the big ol’ thumbs down.
The book starts out pretty grand, dumping us into said Katana storyline, one that’s very much focused on a single conflict that seems very interesting, and I’d just like to point out the very effective splash we get to jump into this.
A short bit of text and a whole lotta action with muted colours that underline the sounds and feelings one would have free-climbing a sheer face cliff during a blizzard. I would think.
A flurry of action sequences later and the action simmers down to Tatsu having to deal with her adopted… weirdo alien thing, Gabrielle (going by Halo as a hero moniker) and her trials and tribulations with getting used to human society.
There are some heavy bits here with Tatsu interacting with her dead husband and shedding some light on her troubled past, but there’s a quick action sequence again and she ends up becoming trapped inside her blade, the Soultaker. Props here for some great art: composition, panel progression, colouring, everything just flowed over these pages (and the comic, in general), but particularly on this one.
Aaaaand this is where the book started to lose me, and lost I was for the rest of the damned slog. We’re given a team-up between a who’s who of who’s that, with a ton of characters who end up doing mostly nothing and are only given the time to differentiate themselves from one another by looks since most dialogue lines are either cut short or non-existent.
I have to pause here on one of the introductory panels, where we get to meet part of the squad and draw your attention to the token character, I’ll let you figure out who they are…
Yes, amidst a team of demons, ghosts, Nicholas Flamel offshoots and gun-toting amphibians, the one thing that stands out about Jamie Weber is “non binary”. Jolly good. Oh, and also a rainbow motif and a weird haircut.
They then get relegated to background character (literally, they’re barely in focus in any of the ensuing panels and get about 4 lines for the rest of the damned thing, but hooray for representation, I guess!).
Definition of token character. It’s almost like corporate pushed this one in and the writers just didn’t how to blend it all together so just went “ah, pencil them in here and there, it’ll be fine!”.
The following conflict involves Tarot cards, Aladdin (no, not that Aladdin, this ain’t Disney), and Amanda Waller acting all bossy and heartless, with little to nothing to grip my goldfish-grade attention span other than some stinky cheese one-liners and a couple panels where the art falters, all amounting to a hard pass for this series going forward.
I’ll definitely be digging into some more Katana stories, though.
Thanks for reading, and have as nice a day as you deserve!