Having read the “Brain Boy” stories in “Dark Horse Presents” a year or so ago, he seemed like a fun character with a slightly unfortunate name. With “Brain Boy: The Men from G.E.S.T.A.L.T.” #1, we’re already up to a second mini-series for the character, and this seemed like as good a chance to check in. Turns out, he’s doing just fine.
Don’t worry if you haven’t read any other “Brain Boy” comics up until now; Fred Van Lente and Freddie Williams II have done a good job in keeping the comic new-reader friendly. Van Lente uses the time honored tradition of starting in media res, then jumping back in time 72 hours once we get a mid-point cliffhanger so that we can see how we’ve gotten to this point. It’s effective, with an attack on President and Michelle Obama at the White House that quickly wipes out all of the security. It’s the sort of scene that’s designed to grab the reader’s interest, and I think it works well in that regard. Van Lente and Williams pace out the scene just so, with a mixture of action, reveals, and even a touch of comedy to keep it moving.
From there, as we jump into the past, we start to get the meat of the comic. That works well too; it’s a quick introduction of Brain Boy and his girlfriend Lou, as well as a basic setup of how he operates and what’s happened before. I appreciate that Van Lente understands that a #1 should mean an easy introduction for a new reader, and we get that in spades. We get both that he’s a sweet yet effective guy, and one who sometimes doesn’t think things all the way through before acting.
The best part of the issue, though, is probably the scene on the plane when G.E.S.T.A.L.T. attacks. It works in no small part because of how Williams draws the scene, with the multiple Utas all over the plane. It would have been easy to digitally duplicate her image across the page, but instead Williams is clearly drawing them all form start to finish. Each in a slightly different pose, with a different (but still malicious) expression. Having Brain Boy rearing back in his seat is the perfect final part of that image; it gives you the impression of them having all just appeared, as well as hammering home the enclosed space within the plane.
“Brain Boy: The Men from G.E.S.T.A.L.T.” #1 is a fun little book. With Dark Horse’s Project: Black Sky titles starting to show up and more and more, this is one that you won’t want to miss. Ignore the cheesy title that sounds like a Legion of Substitute-Heroes reject (the main character hates the name himself), and trust me — it’s worth checking out.