The great first issue is a bit of a lost art in comics. It used to be you’d get both a premise and a story. Now, we’re thankful for the barest of introductions. Somewhere in “Hell Yeah” #1 is a story waiting to come out if it can push back the drawn out setup for this different world. 20 years ago, superhumans showed up and changed the world. I took one more word than the pages it takes Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz to establish the difference between our world and “Hell Yeah.” Throw in a “cool” opening scene, a little bit of character development and a final cliffhanger hinting at what the story may actually be when it’s allowed to begin next issue and it’s the entire issue.
The amount of space dedicated to delivering a history lesson about this world is unnecessary. There’s nothing in those scenes we haven’t seen before and couldn’t be communicated more succinctly. Perhaps this extended scene will come back to play a pivotal role in the series as it moves ahead — not a problem if you keep reading despite it. Instead of getting on with the story and allowing the necessary information to come through naturally, this issue is crammed so full, there’s no room for the story.
If that weren’t problem enough, what’s established as a premise here isn’t different enough to set it apart. A world where superhumans have altered the culture and societal make-up? A rebellious young superhuman that won’t fall in line? A moderately funny comics in-joke (a band is named “The All-New All-Differents”)? Not necessarily overused plot devices, but ones not made to stand out. What sets this comic apart? Not much. It’s got swagger and energy and those go a long way when your lead is a superhuman with a chip on his shoulder. The plot may be lacking, but the tone of the scenes involving young Daniel Day are just right. If anything makes this first issue worth reading, it’s Keatinge’s excellent characterization of Day.
Andre Szymanowicz’s art is also an asset of “Hell Yeah” #1. He brings the same amount of rough energy to his art that Keatinge brings to Daniel Day’s character. He’s got a slightly messy line adding an edge to the visuals, hinting at an “all is not right in paradise” vibe the writing tries to express at times. Like Keatinge, Szymanowicz has a solid understanding of the issue’s protagonist. A scene where Daniel has coffee with his father has small touches like the casual way Daniel sits in his chair, arm draped over the back. It’s a smart decision that gets across who this character is. The design of Daniel’s costume also walks that line between tradition and apathetic rebel.
If “Hell Yeah” #1 spent less time worrying about telling us about the past and more time telling us the story, it would be a much more entertaining and engaging read. Instead, it begins well, drags in the middle and spends the rest trying to play catch up. It’s an all-too-typical first issue offering enough glimmers of potential to warrant coming back for a second.