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Epoch #1 – Advanced Review

Epoch is executed in a fairly entertaining way, but the story has a lot of moments where it regurgitates numerous ideas that have been explored countless times before and were handled better in those comics than they were here. Even with all these clichéd ideas, Epoch does manage to make most of them work marginally well. The art also has mixed results.

Our hero this time around is a detective (cliché number 1), who is investigating a gruesome series of murders (cliché number 2), and whose partner is killed in the process during a violent showdown where he sprouts wings and battles a demonic force encased in blue fire. This battle between angels and demons is cliché number 3.
The basic elements of the story start out as clichés, but by putting these clichés together the story works well.

Heroes and Villains, Top Cow and Image Comics Presents: Epoch #1 of 5Any common elements are handled just that way – like an average comic book would handle them – by writer Kevin McCarthy. But by mixing the detective elements with the supernatural and the relationships between the characters makes the comic work well. Though this mixture immediately reminds me of Witchblade, which already has a huge following that could easily pick this issue apart despite it being written solidly. The elements are just too similar to think of anything else when reading it.

The protagonist, Jonah, becomes compelling, not because of his occupation as a cop – which is used only to move the plot forward and therefore not very well utilized past the cliché – but because of his rocky relationship with his father, which could seem like another cliché but is handled well in this issue and leads to a great reveal at the end of the issue. This is a slightly predicable reveal, but the ending didn’t seem to want to shock you with what it was, just create a great set-up for the next issue.

Artist Paolo Pantalena sometimes makes the characters look like distorted action figures. At one point Jonah is interrogating a woman and the two are put together in a panel, but are drawn in a way that makes them look like they are not even in the same room together. Jonah has an exaggerated angry face when pointing the finger at his witness. The woman was drawn beautifully though, despite the exaggerated art around her, doing well to hide these flaws with picturesque eyes.

The emotions on the characters are very good when not exaggerated, especially during the fight between Jonah’s partner Michael and two demonic entities. His caring glance at Jonah, the faces he makes during combat… until the moment he realizes he is going to die and has his mouth hanging open, more exaggerated art that hurts the powerful impact of his death, all of his emotions ring clear and add to the story. His reactions are the best art Pantalena (the only exception being pretty eyes) has to offer and makes the character stand-out more in the reader’s mind. Despite the sometimes atrocious exaggerations and the interview between Jonah and our beautiful guest star, the art was good, just not great, especially when comparing it to other Top Cow titles with their distinctive styles – like Velocity. Epoch’s story, like its art in this issue, also feels borrowed from other comics and lacks its own distinctive style.

This comic is a good read. But it barely stands out amongst the numerous other comics produced from Top Cow and Image, especially art-wise. The story does have an air of mystery to it that will make me come back and read more just to see what happens, which I would call the greatest success the first issue of any series can accomplish. It’s fun, but a cliché, and needs to have a great second issue to make up for it. 

Rating
6.5

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About / Bio
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.

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