It Won't Be Long Now: Throwaways #5 [REVIEW]
Writer: Caitlin Kittredge
Artist: Steven Sanders
Last week, the shipping week of Wednesday, February 1st, was pretty amazing. I had several books, five to be exact, that scored an 8.0 or above on my 10.0 scale. It was a pretty rare convergence of good books, that hit most of the major things I look for, all dropping in one shipping week. Not so much this week; at least so far. Headlining the review parade is this drama comic from Image, based around a group of people who, through government experimentation, have received some pretty snazzy gifts.
Throwaways is a bit more grounded than a full-on super-hero comic. Think Agents of SHIELD; before all the Inhuman stuff. Sadly, I don't really recall any of the character's names. There is a short-haired primary female protagonist who has kind of like Terminator-vision, with augmented reality stats coming up whenever she looks at someone. She's been "rescued" by a CIA or NSA analyst whose boyfriend is in the same predicament; on the lam from whatever government shadow organization cooked up their super-powers and being hunted. That guy's dad also has powers, I am assuming from the same source, but is a royal jerk, and is perhaps abusive. The girls take off to rescue the boyfriend, find him kidnapped by the father, get trounced, then stage a comeback, and throw the dad in the cellar, tied up.
There is a decent story here holding this comic together. But the characters feel very one-dimensional. I am not sure that I have not read this story before. Like, several times. Now of course, that can arguably be said about a vast majority of comics. But, here, this plot-line feels very well trodden. This just doesn't feel as deep as some other Image books, like East of West. As I mentioned above, I've read two other comics since I read this on Wednesday night, and I've already forgotten the character names. Pacing feels like a problem throughout the image, with characters seemingly overly excited about very mundane happenings in the midst of being under threat of life and limb. One thing I did like is that it had sort of a Blacklist feeling when it came to the intrigue. If the comic book goes full-on down that path, with a bit of Alias thrown it and amps up the intrigue and subterfuge; if it goes down a path of keeping you guessing, it could extract a bit more out of the formula. That will make it hard for people to jump on in mid-arc, but at least it will ground itself with a specific purpose. Right now, it just feels too basic and linear when it is settled down, and meandering and aimless when it is not.
The art does not help out a lot. It is very basic, without a ton of detail thrown onto the canvas. And maybe that was the creative intent, to make it a very grounded tone artistically to match the story? I guess. Maybe. My main complaint is that it just does not do anything for me. I would have just as soon read this story as a short in a magazine, as I am not certain that the art did a lot to add to the story-telling. There is some very nice artwork of a kid doing artwork in the issue's opening. But by the same token, the hair on that kid feels all sorts of wrong and does not look like the way hair would rest on anyone. The characters are not overly distinct facially, mainly varying by different hairstyles or body size mainly, with very nondescript, vapid expressions. There just aren't really any defining features in their faces. The main character's face feels particularly anonymous. There is a series of panels where the boyfriend uses his powers, stretches out a hand, but there is no animation or movement panel. So I guess he used his power, maybe some type of telekinesis (?), to open a door to a fallout shelter, but that's an assumption I had to make in substitution for a missing panel in the story-telling. There is also a panel showing a picture of what should have been the boyfriend's mother, but it is a different woman. Her pose and posture in the picture are entirely unnatural for a woman standing in a picture with her comrades in military uniform, unless it was supposed to be a gag pic; thumbs up and hunched over, which would be very off-tone for that scene.
Throwaways is a bit of a cliche plot that has been done very many times over, and does not really add much that is interesting or divergent from the way those stories are typically told. The artwork is very basic and meets the need, but does not extend the craft in a way that makes this story stand out on its own. It is tough for me to find a good reason to come back to this book when there are other comics on the market. It might read better in trade, and there is a hook where it could become a good spy/intrigue comic if it leans into it more fully.