With a Bullet: Cave Comics Wins with The No. Ones #1

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The No Ones 1 Cave Comics

I've never heard of Cave Comics (although I've been in a few comics caves in my travels around the country). But I have heard of Jim Krueger, from the mesmerizing job he did for Marvel on EARTH X. So when my friendly neighborhood comics guy at Cosmic Comics in Belleville suggested I check out THE NO. ONES #1, I was instantly intrigued. I expected Krueger to deliver a multi-layered mystery with a mixture of distinct personalities, and I was not disappointed. Well-Bee's washed-out inks and colors gave the superhero series a gloomy tone that helped establish the mood of the story going forward.

The Bastion are the city's superheroes. They're more than just heroes, however. They're role models with a carefully cultivated public persona and canny marketing. Their brand is valuable, in both social and physical currency.

But the public face of the group is a facade. Oh, they really are heroes; this isn't a mature redux of THUNDERBOLTS where the villains are hiding in the guise of heroes. They want to do good, and do it. Their problems are the human variety, stemming from relationships breakdowns, physical cravings, denials of problems -- just on a more super-scale.

Things really fall apart for The Bastion, however, when they tackle a terrorist group and end up with one more dead body than they should -- an innocent bystander. Realizing the media would destroy them over the mistake, they hide it from the world. And somehow, this one act shifts their reality. Suddenly, they no longer exist. Nobody knows them, nobody remembers them. As the title cleverly hints at -- the bastion has gone from being the No. Ones to the No Ones.

I expected an intriguing story from Krueger, and he met and exceeded those expectations, ensuring I will be returning for the next issue and recommending it to others. Kruegers inclusion of the economics that would be necessary to control a superhero brand put me in mind of Rick Veitch's BRAT PACK.

And while I appreciate Well-Bee's artwork, for a first issue there was simply too much "cinematic dark" going on. The tone works fine for the type of story beign told -- once we've actually been able to see the characters more clearly so we can tell who is who. Sometimes in the fight scenes, I didn't understand who was standing where, and the mixed-up mise en scene gave the impression that the terrorists and the heroes were both facing the same direction. And, while I'm picking nits, either Caul or Ripple need to get a haircut, as it is nearly impossible to tell them apart except for the hair color (which, again, is seen mostly in the dark) or when their unique powers are being used.

Highly recommended.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0