Well, I figured out the secret of X Isle’s seemingly full issues: no transitions. The action cuts ahead minutes, hours, across miles. Writers Andrew Cosby and Michael Alan Nelson do the whole thing in quick summary, which gives the impression of content regardless of their actual success.
This issue has the first casualty, a kidnapping, a big twist, and some character moments. Not character development precisely because the characters are paper thin. Sam Jackson will make the Black scientist guy work in the movie, the Rock for the first mate, and so on. A few times, it looks like artist Greg Scott is photo-referencing Tim Allen for the lead. Tim Allen as a scientist. I mean, sure.
The comic’s selling point is the art. Scott’s graceless when it comes to transitions, not just between scenes in a montage sequence but between panels in an action sequence. But he’s got several decent panels. X Isle’s a very moody book; most of this issue takes place at night, in the perilous jungle. Half the issue there’s a rain storm, which contributes even more mood though not any rain-related action.
The dialogue’s almost entirely atrocious, with the comic avoiding the science of the terrifying tropical island with its monsters and so on, but it avoids all the character stuff too. There’s definitely supposed to be character stuff—Tim Allen’s daughter, who’s easily the worst written character, falling for his lab assistant. But then Sam Jackson gets jealous the assistant gives her a foot massage. They should’ve had Sam Jackson looking directly into the camera and mumbling some Pulp Fiction quotes.
I wasn’t expecting much from X Isle but it’s not even clearing that short bar. However, to borrow a frequent phrase from the comic, it is indeed fascinating to see how the summary pacing works.
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