Image once again makes it’s claim as the premiere company for creator owned comics and stories, but is a superhero whose main power is playing with mud really worth your time?
Here is the summary from Image:
It’s the first day back at school for Owen Craig, and it’s not going too well. He’s been run over, got detention, and his police officer father has been taken prisoner by armed bank robbers.
And now his body seems to be turning to mud…
Collects MUDMAN #1-5
The story follows Owen Craig a young high school kid living in England who is dealing with your typical teenage problems, doing well in school, getting with his dream girl, etc. That all comes to a screeching halt when he goes tagging with a friend and accidentally stumbles upon a couple of criminals in a house they thought abandoned. Owen tries to run away only to be shot, but he awakes in his bed the next morning. Thinking it was a dream, he goes to wash his face only to discover his body has the properties of mud. This is where the story gets going a bit. Over the course of the 5 issue trade we see him, save his constable father from the two criminals, fight another person with super powers, encounters his own Yoda or Obi-Wan, a wise old guy who wants to teach him how to use his powers, and talks to a mysterious woman who may or may not be responsible for how he got his powers. Which is basically what the trade is about, boy gets powers and tries to see how he got them.
Paul Grist writes and illustrates the book, this can be a good or bad thing depending on which the creator is better at and to what degree. Here his storytelling is a better than his illustration work. He tells the story pretty well introducing us to Owen, his friends, family, and others involved in the story, issue two itself was done well, retelling the events of issue one but from the crooks point of view, I thought that was pretty cool. The use of the the “cockney” English dialect was nice, although it was a bit hard to follow at times if your not used to it. Another problem was the pacing was a bit off in some issues, some things moved a bit fast, others slow, and sometimes it was hard to tell the time frame of events of an issue, you don’t if things are happening earlier in the day or presently, and that kind of hurts the book in the long run.
The art, while not my cup of tea (See what I did there?), is alright, a little inconsistent at times but it doesn’t really hurt the book that much. It fits the atmosphere well although I would have liked to see more detailed characters though. Everything else is pretty decent though, and it’s something you get used to looking at as the story moves forward.
Despite the tag line: “Your Brand New Favorite Superhero Comic” (Don’t worry Spidey you’ll never be dethroned) being a bit boastful it’s a good book. Fun to read, with pretty decent characters, and nice story, and the mystery of how Owen Craig came to be MUD MAN should keep you reading for a while. All in all it’s mostly a fun book, which is what I think Mr. Grist was going for. This trade is a nice place to start if your new to the story and are interested, I recommend it.