Writer: James Asmus & Fred Van Lente
The immortal Armstrong used to live the life of a hobo, living off the land and experiencing, in his opinion, a more prestigious life than anything that could be acquired through wealth. After becoming well-versed and engaged in the surprisingly extensive hobo society, he is entrusted by the Hobo King to safeguard the map of hobo treasures etched into skinned butt cheeks…Yeah, skinned butt cheeks. Years later after losing one half of the map, Armstrong finds out that two bounty hunters, none other than Quantum and Woody, have the other half of the map in their possession. Along with his pal Archer, Armstrong sets off to find the other half of the hobo map and the two buffoons who have it…
The Ups: The best thing about this issue is the amazing set up that James Asmus and Fred Van Lente have created in order to properly organize the events in this book and those to come. I’ll admit that in the beginning I was bit confused about what was going go but that was quickly rectified as the dialogue from the characters provided crystal clear explanations for everything that was going on. Speaking of the dialogue, the comedic banter that runs throughout the issue is not only surprisingly funny but also has a proper level of consistency to it. Asmus and Lente seem to possess mastery over timing when it comes to placing jokes in the books. No line of comedy feels forced or unnecessary and helps to effectively emphasize a moment in the book. The story elements and natural flow of the events is something that will draw any reader into its pages and make them stay for the long haul.
The Downs: The only thing that was putting me off about this issue was the pencil work and the colors. The art behind the characters and environments was stale and the colors seemed to only accentuate the dullness that was already present in the panels. I often had to squint or look twice at a page as I continued to read because I was able to accurately see what was happening on the first look over.
Overall: In the end, the book was definitely a tremendously brilliant and well thought out introduction to a brand new series. The comedic elements working in tandem with great storytelling made the somewhat bothersome artwork bearable because it was the writing itself that kept me sucked in. This series is one that will be added into my reading list and when it finally comes to a comic shop near you on July 28th I hope you all give the spectacular work of James Asmus and Fred Van Lente a chance as well.
Grade 4 of 5