Buck Rogers #1
Hermes Press (2013)STORY/ART: Howard Chaykin COLORIST: Jesus Aburto Wait, that’s it? No other artists? No editor? No letterer mentioned? You can do that, even in a small-press comic?
I’m not complaining but there isn’t a lot to summarize. Buck and Wilma take on space pirates while arguing, Buck recalls his origin story for Dr. Huer and the readers, then Buck and Wilma argue while dealing with Black Bart’s men and Buck finds out that the Han may be up to something suspicious. It’s a first issue.
What they got right: While a bit heavy in backstory we get a look at how Chaykin’s version of the man-out-of-time hero got to the 25th century and it resembles the original comic strip with some updates and his own ideas. The artwork is really good and the designs all have a retro feel rather than Dynamite’s mix of retro shape and future design.
What they got wrong: Buck seems to lack the charisma of previous versions and his and Wilma’ bickering got on my nerves. This is a Buck who has been here a while but none of the respect that they’ve had for each other in previous incarnations is on display. There’s also this part in Buck’s flashback when he rallies against war, insisting that all wars was the result of being liked to by Plutocrats and that he was a fool for, at least this is how I read it, fighting for his country. I’m not sure if Chaykin is using Buck as a mouthpiece or if this is really how he thinks a man back then would think (which he says in the back of the book is what he’s going for with Buck’s character) but it made me roll my eyes. And now Buck’s really name is “Robert” or “Bob”. What happened to Anthony, the name he was originally given?
Recommendation: Don’t let the lack of a Best Scene nominee or my complaints above steer you wrong. Most of the problems I had were personal preference and not a condemnation. The story was good for a backstory issue, the art is good, and I do like the outfit and vehicle designs. Chaykin is well within his rights to do his own thing and it may well turn out to be good. It’s not enough for me to add the series with my limited budget but you should at least give the comic a look over. You may enjoy it more than me and I wouldn’t blame it. As a critic I think it’s a good comic, but it didn’t really work for me personally.