“It Came!” by Dan Boultwood is a winking throwback to the terrible sci-fi movies of the ’50s. This comic wants to feel like an episode of “Mystery Science Theatre 3000,” but lacks two crucial elements: the riffing quips of the show and the knowledge that the original movies were terrible. This comic only seems to showcase the terrible movie underneath and the results get grating very quickly.
The story follows a cocky scientist and his female companion, who spend many pages bantering. While these set ups might work if someone were riffing quality zingers at their expense (a la “Mystery Science Theater 3000”), this book doesn’t do that. All readers get is flat dialogue and thin characterization. Those who don’t know what to expect would be forgiven for mistaking “It Came” #1 as just a terrible comic. Those that do know it’s attempt at pastiche will get the joke very quickly, and then be as bored by it as you are when watching those old movies on their own. This book aimed for a specific joke target and completely missed.
With the story and characters ridiculously annoying, the action is left to come in and save the day. However, it doesn’t seem to muster much past the same motions for even the first issue. A robot monster has fallen to Earth and chases the lead characters through the English countryside. It swings, misses, chases, then wash and repeat as needed. There isn’t anything fun or slick about the robot or what it does.
The art holds a certain charm in moments. While it seems simplistic, the art actually allows the characters scope to emote and move within. There are some pages where the idea of a repeated static image is used for a cheap laugh, but it falls over quickly. The storytelling is soundly delivered through page layouts and panel composition and size. There are some mock house ads thrown in, which might be the best part of the book.
“It Came!” #1 aims for humor, but ends up failing spectacularly. The jokes are flat, the characters uninteresting — even in a “so bad they’re good” manner, and the central complication of the narrative isn’t given anything extra to make it pop. There are some decent art moments to keep readers hooked, but otherwise this issue is far off the mark it seems to intend.