Chain Reactions | <i>Mudman #1</i>

This week saw the debut of Mudman, a new ongoing comic by Paul Grist publsihed by Image Comics. Grist has always had a talent for creating fun comics with a distinctive art style, whether he's teaming with Grant Morrison on St. Swithin's Day or Steven T. Seagle on Grendel: Devil in Our Midst, to writing and drawing his own comics, like Kane, Jack Staff and Burglar Bill.

How does Mudman stack up? Here's what people are saying ...

Brandon Borzelli, Geek Goggle Reviews: "The book opens with a letter from Grist about what his book's source and motivation is and it is a great way to open up a creator owned book. Grist manages, in this note, to strip away all of the noise and hype associated with comic books in general to boil everything down to just a simple story that he wants to tell. It sets the stage perfectly."

Sam Moyerman, Broken Frontier: "There's something inherently wonderful with the writing of Paul Grist. The man just knows how to tell a good story. There's nothing out of the ordinary about the setup here; any comic book fan will recognize it immediately: teenager, lots going for him, some stuff under the surface, and then suddenly... superpowers. And yet, despite what could very easily fall into melodramatic cliche, it remains fresh and fun in Grist's hands. The dialogue feels right for these characters (especially a scene where Jack saves Owen from a bully) and never forces the action. Grist does enough to show that these characters live in a fully realized world. He even does a little of his vintage time manipulating, jumping around the action to keep surprises coming, even one for Owen in French class."

Brian Salvatore, Multiversity Comics: "Grist’s art lives up to the high standard of his past work and continues to build his reputation as one of the most brilliant layout artists working today. There are numerous pages where I found myself staring at the page as a whole instead of focusing on the actual action, because I was just so taken by the way the story was being laid out in front of me. The design of the Mudman costume is a thing of beauty; it is simple, classic and familiar, without borrowing too much from one specific pre-existing hero."

Iann Robinson, CraveOnline: "Mudman, the new series from Image comics leaves a very distinct reaction of 'Well' pause 'That happened.' I’m not sure what the goal is here. It could be a piss-take, a little joyful ribbing at the expense of the costumed superhero. It could be an attempt to lay another pair of footprints down the well-worn road of comedy-meets-superhero. Whatever Image was going for, they missed the mark, at least with the first issue. A number one issue is supposed to slap out at you, grab you and reel you in. Mudman lays there like, well, like a bunch of wet mud."

Wesley Messer, MyComicNetwork.com: "Paul Grist’s Mudman is off to a good start. Owen is a likable character and overall the setup for it works. Grist’s art is dynamic and fits the sort of hybrid modern and retro take that the book has going on. I’ve also made a point to mention the coloring on this issue. I’ve always liked Bill Crabtree’s colors but they’re one of the driving forces on Mudman. The muted colors do a nice job in showing off Grist’s world. A truly unique take on superheroes that deserves a chance to find an audience. If you’re in your shop and looking for something different grab Mudman off the shelf. You’ll be as engaged as I am in Mudman’s world and wanting to read more of Paul Grist’s work."

Rich Johnston, Bleeding Cool: "Because this is as close to a Mike Leigh film as you can get while still having colourful tights. Teenagers in a boring high school in a boring part of England on the coast. The kind of town the rest of the country has given up on. It’s not even as glamourous as… Plymouth. It’s an inbetween town. It’s the kind of place crime does happen, out of the glare of media, police, concerned citizens. And to that, Paul Grist adds this touch of bizarreness, playing off the very mud flats that make this place even more boring that usual, especially to the mind of a teenager. And Grist does so in his customary fashion that’s half way between Andi Watson’s Breakfast After Noon and Dave Sim’s Cerebus, with inventive panels, poses, storytelling tricks and even lettering, that is grounded in the very believable here and now. To this extent, it’s far more successful than, say, Jamie McKelvie’s Suburban Glamour which tried a similar trick. But that was Skins, which I could never believe in, where as this is Secrets And Lies, or Nuts In May or The Street. It is as stylised as any fiction, but it feels like next door, or someone’s next door. I could never find myself believing in Kick Ass, it always felt they were performing for an audience. But here, that’s not an issue. The family dynamic, the friends and school and the belief that there must be something fantastic happening somewhere if only you could find it. The jump Mudman makes is to find it."

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