Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on October 5, 2015.
Ever since creatures like Godzilla and King Kong first appeared in cinema decades ago, we have been enthralled with giant monster stories. Since then, countless massive monster movies, books, games, and comics have appeared in the world and now Project Nemesis has joined the ranks of these giant tales.
Project Nemesis #1 is the first part of in a six-issue adaptation of the bestselling novel by Jeremy Robinson, with art by Matt Frank, that is part of American Gothic Press’s line-up of classic movie monsters that focuses on Kaiju, also known as Godzilla or Pacific Rim–sized monsters. The story follows several characters. First, it follows Katsu Endo after he discovers the remains of a Kaiju with a fellow solider on a really confusing page. After that, a few years pass and we then follow Jon Hudson,who is out hunting for Bigfoot with Sheriff Ashley Collins until they stumble upon a secret government base that is also under attack by some sort of human/monster hybrid thing.
Sounds like a pretty interesting setup, right? Well it is, but there are some huge problems here with the execution.
The story is imaginative, adequate, and I have no real problem with most of the dialogue, but some things here just aren’t explained. What year is this? Are Kaiju a modern threat and if so what kind of impact have they had on the world? Who is the random dead schoolgirl at the beginning? I know this is the first issue and some questions need to be introduced to hook readers in, but practically nothing is explained. We see stuff happening but we are not given enough information to put two and two together. I was more confused than I was engaged.
My major complaint with this comic though is definitely in its use of narration. Some narration and inner monologue from a character in a comic is usually a must in stories like this but not when it’s on practically every single page and panel. I don’t need it if it mostly explains stuff that I can clearly see or piece together on my own after looking at what happens in a single panel! The point of a comic is for the art to help tell the story so we don’t really need the narrative to repeat what is already being seen in the art like this was a golden or silver age comic. I spent most of my time reading this just saying to myself “show, don’t tell.”
It may sound like I’m trying to praise the issue’s art but unfortunately, it’s also not perfect. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. The creature design is pretty cool, the colors are bright, the gore is graphic, and the backgrounds are gorgeous to look at sometimes but aside from that, the layout of some of these pages is pretty confusing. As I said earlier, the page where Katsu and his buddy find the giant dead Kaiju makes no sense to me. I mean was it a training exercise and they just happened to stumble across the remains of it in a cave? It seems that way since they are at a training base but the way the page is laid out and the dialogue is expressed, it really doesn’t make it that clear. I looked over the page five times and I still feel confused. Also, in a later page a character says that someone got shot two times while a few panels before that we can clearly see that the person was shot three times. Editing matters.
I feel like Project Nemesis #1 could have been so much better than it was. The ideas expressed here that I can make out seemed interesting and the dialogue with the characters seemed pretty fluid, but the okay art, heavy needless narration, unexplained details, and some bad page layout really bogged this down for me. I wanted to like this more than I did but I just couldn’t bring myself to see past most of the problems with this issue. Just another example of a story told in a narrative medium not translating well to a visual one.
FINAL SCORE: 3.5 out of 10