We The People has an intriguing promise and cover, but what happens between the pages is a slight letdown. From new publisher Outlaw Entertainment this one-shot is written by its Editor-In-Chief Jason M. Burns. Burns is one of comics’ most prolific scribes and from his start in the business with Viper Comics until his launch titles with Outlaw (such as the far superior Praetorian) he knows how to craft a solid story. The problem with We The People is that it feels like a TV pilot that doesn’t have the room to leap off the floor.
The initial concept is a good one and could almost be considered something of a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-lite. It centres around three young protagonists, each of whom is a descendant of a famous fictional character, but in this world, these well-known heroes were obviously more than legends. Robin Hood, Sinbad, and Zorro actually existed and their talents have passed on through the generations. That may sound like a hokey idea, but when you think about it, a lot could be done with that as a beginning.
It’s not all bad though; far from it in fact. Burns does the best with the few pages he’s given, but the concept from publisher Ricardo A. Villa needs fleshing out. It’s actually a strong start and has a lot of potential, but it demands a mini-series, rather than 112 pages. The art by Joe Eisma reminds me of 90’s Green Arrow penciller Rodolfo DiMaggio (who is now doing illustrations for big films BTW). It’s crisp and natural, with few lines. He handles emotions and body language with a natural fluidity and brings a quiet grace to each page. It’s all quite pleasant on the eye, and the spot on colouring by Giuseppe Pica sells each scene.
Apart from the need for more pages, though I guess that’s a compliment really, the other main disappointment of this tale is the “big bad.” He’s not that big, or bad. He’s a mayor who wants to clean up his streets by getting rid of all the homeless. Again, a concept that needs something more, like a Kingpin-type figure with his own army of soldiers and perhaps a reborn actual historical villain, like Jack the Ripper. However, there is a sense that Burns doesn’t want to turn this into yet another superhero book. There’s no sign of super powers and even the costumes are realistic, though they do look great. This is a street level approach to crime fighting, not the overly complicated approach of the Big Two.
Some may find Xavier’s (AKA Z – for Zorro) remarks annoying. With his sex jokes he seems like a more restrained character from a Kevin Smith film but at least Burns manages to give each of the three protagonists a distinct personality.
Flashbacks to the original heroes of lore, more wrestling from the three leads with the concept of destiny and more team dynamics is what this tale needs. I’m sure Burns knows that and probably wishes he had the extra pages to do so. Unfortunately any new publisher already has their work cut out for them and launching a series of one-shots rather than multiple mini-series is more viable. Perhaps if this outing does well, more tales of this trio of urban heroes will be forthcoming.
It is an entertaining enough comic for a newbie, as it’s easy to follow, looks good and is not too far ‘out there’ as a concept. Plus it’s 112 pages for only $8 and that’s a classy deal.