Everything old is new again. And that isn't always a good thing.
I confess, as a comic reader going on his twentieth year of visiting funnybook shops every week, I've been a bit discouraged lately. I'm in that small but whiny group that doesn't like DC's "New 52," because it renders all of the stories I've cherished these last twenty years as obsolete -- or at least outdated. Additionally, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles recently relaunched under IDW's banner, and while I was excited to pick up the first issue, I was daunted by its focus on a new origin for our half-shelled heroes. Is anything I once knew canon anymore?
Enter Paul Grist's Mudman -- a number one issue you can trust.
I agree with Erik Larsen in his recent response to a letter in Savage Dragon #175. If you're going to start with number one, why not pour that energy into a new idea? Further, if you have a new idea, must you brand it as the end all/be all of everything? Mudman epitomizes both concepts, as a very humble first issue -- a simple cover, the beginning of the young hero's origin story, and crisp, page-popping art. At the same time, you've seen all this before: reckless young person stumbles into a hero's legacy and dons the mantle to discover his own worth in a troubled world. It's the standard superhero premise in new tights . . . oh, and a lot of mud.
You can trust Mudman because of its unabashed embrace of the classic conventions while trying on a new suit; in othe words, it's the best of DC's "New 52" without the headline-grabbing motivation, or the bogged down allegiance to an old icon's integrity. It's a superhero comic for superhero comics' sake, all ages-friendly, and everything the medium used to be.
Everything old is new again. Sometimes it's a good thing.
Blogger's Note: This review was also posted on Nerdvana, a blog for Arizona's East Valley Tribune.