Please welcome a new contributor to the articles on Comics Talk News, Tyrel Kessinger. He will be adding his reviews from time to time about independent comic titles and other points of interest in the comic world. Thanks for reading Comics Talk.
Writers: Kirsten Smith & Kurt Lustgarten
Art: Naomi Franquiz, Brittany Peer
With its very ambitious tribute to the classic 80s movie, The Goonies, Boom! Studio’s latest release, Misfit City, attempts to draw readers in by tugging on their fond memories for the film. And while it’s a fun, breezy read it fails to create any kind of connection with its readership like The Goonies.
The plot of Misfit City takes place in Cannon Cove, OR, where the infamous movie, The Gloomies, was filmed, much like Astoria, OR is to The Goonies. Obviously, this brand of fame dominates both Cannon Cove and its citizens’ lives so you might have an early clue where Misfit City is headed. By the halfway point things are made clearer still. There’s the group of bored friends; the mysterious chest of a recently deceased and widely known “captain”; a laughably over the top villainous brother/sister duo (the children of said captain who are miffed that the chest was donated to the town tourist trap/museum); and of course, an old treasure map. If the gist of this plot sounds relatively familiar that’s because it’s been used countless times before, in some form or another.
Ultimately, however, the plot isn’t the main hang-up. It’s tired, standard fare but as comic fans go, we’re used to that. Misfit City suffers from more serious issues, namely bland, generic characters (stereotyping is an issue as well) and clunky dialogue. Any stabs at humor fall flat and it’s as if the writer has no idea how young people really speak.
While the artwork here is passable and mostly fitting for the story it stumbles here and there. Quite often the story implies scenes of substantial creepiness/spookiness but fails to deliver in any substantial or effective way. (Note: museums must always be creepy!) This wouldn’t be a big deal in, say, the latest Spider-Man book but if Misfit City’s bread and butter is giving its readers a case of the One-Eyed Willies, then here X does not mark the spot.
One silver lining is writer Kirsten Smith’s Hollywood background (Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You). She uses it to full effect as Misfit City does manage to maintain an even-keeled, well-executed cinematic-style pacing to its storytelling. Another noteworthy achievement, regardless of the book’s overall quality, is that it’s nice to see another strong female cast represented in comicdom. While there’s certainly been an uptick of similarly themed books, it’s still a woefully underrepresented theme.
I don’t mean to utterly trash on Misfit City. I had fun with it. I finished it and closed it and left slightly intrigued. Just not intrigued enough to pick up any future issues. It’s quite possible that I could see myself picking it up in (discounted) TPB form one day. I wouldn’t mind seeing where the story goes but I also wouldn’t lose sleep if I don’t. But after experiencing refreshing new titles like Action Lab’s Spencer & Locke that near-flawlessly meld nostalgia and modernity together, Misfit City has a high bar to vault.
Most likely Misfit City is geared for a younger audience, which, if so, would actually make more sense and make for a bigger pool of potential readers. If nothing else it would make an excellent, new series to introduce to a younger child or early teen. And within that realm specifically, Misfit City holds its own. By Tyrel Kessinger.