“Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination” #1 serves as a nice gateway to both the concepts and characters of the DC Universe as well as those of the Scribblenauts brand. Written by Josh Elder with adorable art from Adam Archer, this installment is the first issue of a new Digital First offering from DC Comics. As shown in the art on the cover and in this interview with Elder from Comic Book Resources, the style of this comic is ridiculously cartoony, which only helps emphasize the fun present.
The story opens with Madame Xanadu revealing a dark fate waiting for the DC Universe. That fate is the demise of the Justice League and many of the other heroes, with villains rising up victorious. Since this is a comic, there is, naturally, a way to curtail that anticipated fate: the heroes of the DC Universe must team up with “Scribblenauts” protagonists Maxwell and Lily. Along the way, Elder introduces readers to the “Scribblenauts” world: Earth i. All of the exposition is put forth in caption boxes, with the word balloons accompanying the character interactions serving to illustrate the tenor and voices of the characters in “Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination” #1.
The characters in “Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination” #1 have an appearance akin to a mash-up between Fisher Price Little People and Art Baltazar drawings, but with a little bit more fluidity to their movements and gestures. The characters are adorable and creatively cartoon-ready, making them nearly perfect for the crossover vehicle that this comic book is and should be. While the character facial expressions are fairly limited, Archer is able to convey emotion and interaction through the body language of the characters and careful construction of each panel. The story is made more accessible to all ages readers with the inclusion of pictograph-filled thought balloons. Ian Herring’s colors are remarkably simple and direct, with large shaded areas as necessary to add depth and interest.
For less than a buck, “Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination” #1 is a nice addition to this week’s comic book offerings. There are no dismemberments or maiming in this comic, no hideous plots or drawn out exposition, just a fun story with distinctly recognizable characters. I’m not familiar with the game, but if it’s anywhere near as fun a release as this comic is, then I’m more than a little bit interested to learn more. I’m thrilled to find such a fun, reverent adventure waiting to be enjoyed and shared. DC’s Digital First adventures come through yet again.