Artist: Dean Zachary
Letterer: Richard Emms
Editor: Mike Grell
Publisher: Atlas Comics, $2.99
Release Date: March 9th, 2011
For those unfamilar with the history of Atlas Comics, kindly refer to my The Grim Ghost #1 review for a brief primer. It's not neccessary, but feel free to indulge me and my love of comics' history.
Readers looking for a new cosmic comic to replace their ailing favorites at the Big Two: look no further. Phoenix starts hard and fast, instantly immersing us in a world where aliens can and do yank you from your high school reunion - and experiment on you to their yellow hearts' and pupilless eyes' content. This is a world where a man can gain mysterious powers without an inkling as to how he acquired them, but keep enough of his wits about him to deal his alien torturers a stinging blow or three.
In this first issue, we're given the barest glimpse of the Phoenix's origin. We know it involves aliens and some sort of experimentation. We suspect these aliens have nefarious intent. But do they? We'll see. We know our hero's real name is Ed and that he is married. We suspect their marriage is on the rocks, and we suspect that Ed's wife does not quite trust him as she should. Where will this take us? Writer Jim Krueger has a knack for making us care about his characters, while giving us only the scantest information about them. Many other writers couldn't paint such pictures of these characters with the paucity of information he's given us. What he's done, however, is make us want to fill in those gaps and of course, that means continuing to read the book.
Artist Dean Zachary's work has a curious quality to it. It seems almost painted, though clearly it's not. It also seems to want to leap off of the page at you, but again, clearly this is not the case. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly makes his art so unique, but I have to say I like it.
While I wasn't familar with The Phoenix, as I am with some other Atlas characters, this issue served as an excellent introduction while simultaneously making me want more and want it right now. Kudos, chums. I'll be seeing you next issue.