Review: Reality Check #1
A struggling artist, Willard Penn, scores an unlikely hit with his new comic. The story centers on a hero more concerned with his libido than serving justice. After an unexpected sell out, Willard can’t recall anything about his story. That night the book’s hero shows up outside Willard’s window refusing to return to the comic until he finds true love. Exasperated, Willard is forced to help the lovesick hero meet the perfect woman. But he’ll need to hurry because the book’s villain, a homicidal maniac, has entered his world as well.
A new series from Image comics kicks off today featuring a comic book creator who scores an unlikely hit with his latest idea. The only problem is that he’s out of ideas. Reality Check #1 is written by Glen Brunswick with art by Viktor Bogdanovic. Paul Little handles colors and Rus Wooton provides lettering. So is Reality Check a hit or is it in for a rude awakening?
Willard Penn is a comic book writer and artist. He lives in Hollywood and he’s having a late night case of writer’s block. So far his work life has been a comedy of errors and misunderstandings. Marvel and DC keep calling him asking if he’s available, but they don’t really have anything to offer him. After creating a new series called Dark Hour, he gets swooped up by BLAAM Comics. Dark Hour is Batman who has lady problems. He’s looking for companionship (no, not like a Robin), but he keep striking out due to his hectic schedule as a hero. We switch back and forth between Willard’s life and the adventures of Dark Hour. When Willard is at the end of his rope, what happens when Willard’s world and the world of Dark Hour start to merge?
Brunswick writes a great story. It’s an original idea that is accomplished with skill. Willard is a likable, nerdy, comic book guy who avoids being a full-blown cliché. He is a complicated character with a backstory that makes us feel even more sympathetic to him and his situation. While Dark Hour does show up at Willard’s we’re not entirely sure it’s real. Willard is at the end of his rope, and there’s a good chance that he’s actually lost it. It’s a complex story made very enjoyable by all the real world comic book nods and plot elements. Bogdanovic’s art is spectacular. It’s a clean, crisp style with spectacular line work. It’s a great, slightly-cartoonish style that straddles the line between real world and the comic book world the book talks about. It has a very light Humberto Ramos vibe. The color work from Little is bright and vibrant. It really compliments Bogdanovic’s art brilliantly.
Bottom Line: Reality Check is a great comic that’s about someone who writes a mediocre comic. It’s a great idea pulled off exceptionally well by Brunswick. The cover gives the game away, but the story inside makes up for the spoiled reveal. Reality Check is funny, smart, emotional, and really cool. Image has another big hit on their hands. 4.5/5