Thursday, April 10, 2008

From the Back Issue Bin

For whatever reason, I decided to read Avatar's first licensed Stargate SG1: P.O.W. comic book series tonight and thought I would post some reactions to it.

I remember being really excited when I first heard about this title. Stargate SG1 was, at the time, my favourite sci-fi show on TV and being a fan of The X-Files comic and the original Buffy comics (published by TOPPS and Dark Horse, respectively) I figured this would be one more 'expanded universe' that I would get to play in. Once the issues came out, though, I never bothered tpo pick them up. I don't know if it was finances, or an overall dislike of the art style (it could have been both, really) but I left them on the rack and didn't pick up my first Stargate issues until "Fall of Rome", where the addition of Roman gods to the mix was too tempting to resist.

Anyway, enough history.

The series itself ran three issues and was written by James Anthony Kuhoric and illustrated by Renato Guedes with colours by Nimbus Studios. Story-wise, the plot is pretty simple. Jack O'Neill jumps through the gate chasing one of the series baddies who used to be an ally and friend to him (also something of a surrogate son). Everyone wants to go through and recover him but the Goa'uld have left behind a device that jeopardizes Stargate Command. There is also the added threat of the Goa'uld getting information about the SGC through torturing O'Neill with a device that will drag the desired info out of his mind.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of this plot, which feels hackneyed and contrived, but I was still willing to go along for the ride if it was paced well and the characters were true to their TV counterparts. This was something Kuhoric did not do. I'm not sure how much of the bad pacing should be credited to Guedes, but the dialogue was stiff and often felt like it was cut and pasted from moments in the show. The jokes that O'Neill spouts are trite and there was just nothing organic about the way any of these people behaved.

I wouldn't often dare to say this (in the likelihoodthat someone actually called me on it) but I could have dialogued this better than Kuhoric. Given some time (and deep imersion in the subject matter) I may even have been able to come up with a better storyline, too, but for arguments sake, I'm going to stick with just the dialogue.

The artwork by Guedes was something else, too. The strange painterly look is likely the fault of Nimbus (based on the look of Guedes's pencils as well as his straight pencil & ink work seen in the convention specials that Avatar produced) but his characters are still extremely stiff and his overall storytelling ability is limited in these three issues. I ran into several jump cuts that kill the flow of things and panels that make me shudder with their lack of imagination all serve to kill this story before it ever really gets off the ground. I think I probably made it three or four pages in before I knew this was going to be a bad trip, so I'll give him credit for the opening action sequence. Once they get into the SGC, though, wooo...

On a side note, Kuhoric did his best to weave the story of the feature film into the narrative (for which I give him props) but it ended up coming off kind of stilted and felt more like he was trying to kill pages off with what has come before rather than coming up with some original story to fill those in.

I gotta say, I did not like this mini-series, despite (or possibly because of) having an appreciation for the source material and wanting this to be good. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone except maybe the most die-hard fan who wouldn't be totally turned off by it in the end. If I was wanting to make a good impression on a new reader, or someone looking for a proper Stargate fix, I think I would probably throw them one of the later minis, just to be safe.



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