In the backmatter Q&A of “The Bigger Bang” #1 the creative team describes the book, a tale of an oversized superhero in a strange universe, as a “space fairytale.” This approach certainly informs the storytelling structure of this debut issue, a comic book full of big ideas and tongues-in-cheeks written in a throwback Bronze Age style by D.J. Kirkbride and illustrated by Vassals Gogtzilas.
Kirkbride’s script is a fun return to the style of narrative storytelling found in comics in the ’80s and possibly even earlier. Much of the forward momentum of the script happens in the caption boxes, describing how Cosmos arrives where he is, and what his motivations are in each moment. Where many of those older books feel overwritten, this feels right on track. It gives the book a more soap opera feel, an omniscient third person that feels refreshing after years and years of first person narrative boxes. Kirkbridge is enjoying himself on this script for sure; King Thulu is clearly a doofus and is played for both terror and laughs. Cosmos also saves a space whale with an accent and tone that falls somewhere between Sven HoÃ«k and Ãœter ZÃ¶rker. The structure of the book is interesting, ending the book part way through the origin of our hero, dancing back and forth from present to past. More knowledge of Cosmos’ powers would have been useful; as of now all the reader knows is that he’s powerful, and that he can throw a space whale and stop a volcano. None of these actions really speak to what is his power set and how that affects who he is as a character. Left unchecked this type of avoidance can hinder a character into becoming a deus ex machina more than a fleshed-out member of the narrative.
Gogtzilas’s art is immediately reminiscent of Bill Sienkiewicz, with scratchy impressionist renderings of character and action that come together in their own unique structure. Because this tale happens in another galaxy it is almost as if this book was published there. For all the reader knows this could be the house style of the big publishers in that realm. He keeps the action clear enough throughout that this becomes an advantage, never more true than in the facial expressions. His designs for the evil aliens are fun and promise more gross and imaginative introductions in the near future. Cosmos is drawn like a hulking behemoth, like the Malibu Universe’s Prime. (What I’m trying to say is that Cosmos need to work a leg day into his gym routine.)
“The Bigger Bang” is shaping up to be a good superhero series for IDW, which hasn’t really dipped its toes in that water just yet. With a proper balance of information delivered about the lead and a consistent tone of narration, combined with these unique visuals, this can easily scratch the itch of anyone looking for high concept sci-fi that doesn’t take itself terribly seriously.