Slow Pokes a Fast-Paced Syfy-Level Creature Feature

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The Slow Pokes #1

Move over Sharknado -- there's a new species set to wreak havoc in a made-for-TV way.

Steve Urena's SLOW POKES is the kind of fun schlock you'd expect to find on 1990s Syfy late at night, in terms of both plot and execution. The story follows a group of high school seniors on their last field trip to a high tech think-tank-and-amusement-park, where the chief scientist, Eden Rare, makes scientific strides before breakfast. However, her latest world-saving foray has gone incredibly awry. Attempting to speed up the metabolism of three-toed sloths so that their accelerated mating cycles might save them from extinction, she instead made these creatures -- with their already extremely long claws -- swift, deadly killing machines.

The action is, appropriately, fast-paced. Barely two pages into the story, and you have a good idea of the cast of characters, their motivations, and the monstrous peril that has been set loose. Decapitations and disembowelments abound, and in copious amount.

If anything, the fast pacing is also this book's detriment. It's twenty pages of story go by in a blur, with characters leaping from one dilemma to another, while retaining the resiliency between assaults to crack jokes on each other and get pizza dates for when they get out of this mess. A few more pages to slow things down a bit, perhaps get some more honest reactions from the school kids as well as allow for a bit more natural transitioning in places (such as Dr. Rare's surprise announcement at the climax of the tale) would have served the book well. 

But SLOW POKES isn't intended to be elevated comic book storytelling. it's not pretending to be MAUS or WATCHMEN. It's an intentionally cheesy gorefest, with the least likely creatures of all. This reviewer would be completely unsurprised if the concept wasn't optioned for a B-movie in the near future.

The book also features a completely unrelated backup story, without a title or credits, It's five pages of a supervillain who gets what he wants, only to find he misses the thrill of the chase. It's humorous in places, but a bit too derivative of MEGAMIND to be an original concept.

Written by Steve Urena and illustrated by Juan Romera, SLOW POKES is an inventive new entry into the subgenre of genetiically modified creatures gone berserk, and was crowdfunded through a Kickstarter campaign.

BONUS CONTENT: Find Critical Blast's video interview with Steve Urena below.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0