The best thing about this issue is the first 5 pages, which are silent and show a woman making eggs for her “husband” before flinging herself out of a high window. After that, it’s a bit of a letdown. From the mind of Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy, as well as Darren Romanelli and Nathan Cabrera, it is written by Brett Lewis and given art duties by Sam Basri. In the next few pages we learn that the bearded man who saw his potential female companion hit the sidewalk is a man called The Baron. He’s entrusted a group of scientists to make him an android wife, and things aren’t going well. He soon teams up with a financially struggling toy maker to see his dreams come true.
There’s really not much more to say than that. The art has a light touch and a definite manga flavour which makes it easy on the eyes. The story, however, needs work. There are times when it starts to go deeper than its obvious Disney facade (talking bee assistant, lonely scientist, kid in a bear suit) with ponderings on the definition of love and existence. And is it just me, or the scene where lawyers in fancy suits beat up the the toy maker in a dark alley is supposed to be funny, right? With one smarmy guy proclaiming, “We’re lawyers in Los Angeles…we can do whatever we want!” I assume so.
The problem is that the story hasn’t found its feet yet. It isn’t as accessible as it should be, especially for what Image hope to be a book with cross-over appeal. The cover alone proclaims, “FOB Presents,” “Fall Out,” ” Pete Wentz,” and “Inspired by the ideas and lyrics of Fall Out Boy.” If they’re going to go that far to appeal to fans of the band, then surely a short intro by Wentz explaining his part in all this (along with the other 2 creators) or exactly what lyrics inspired the tale (“Tiffany Blews” apparently) would make sense.
For newcomers to comics this isn’t the greatest example, but I certainly don’t blame Image for trying. Musicians getting behind comics is the flavour of the year, and Gerard Way’s The Umbrella Academy series from Dark Horse shows that it can be done beautifully. One look at the comments from people on the official Fall Out Boy site about Toy Works shows an impressive number of excited comics newbies, and that’s a good thing, but I’d suggest they buy the similar Clockwork Girl hardcover from Arcana instead. With this first issue it looks too early to tell, but the story is going somewhere and will hopefully find a balance between its Disney film aesthetic and Blade Runner themes. If you’re still not sure if it’s for you, then check out the teaser for the upcoming motion comic below, even though there’s no mention of the fact that it’s a comic. Oh boy. However, I will say that this 5 issue series looks to take bold strides into the non-comics world. Just look at the ads inside – Dita sunglasses (with artist Jim Lee as the model!), Decaydence record label, Clandestine Industries fashion and designer/co-creator Darren Romanelli’s site. This is exactly the kind of cool that comics need to emanate and go a long way to erasing any lingering negative stereotypes about sequential art. Hopefully series like this, and Tyrese Gibson’s Mayhem! comic will bring in new readers who will then go on to discover the full breadth that this medium offers.
You can also check out an interesting interview with Wentz and Romanelli on the project here.
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