Trouble Point #1 is a below-average book that should be more. It is kneecapped for the same reason as it's predecessor (despite having no obvious connection to it in-story). In both issues, the unique premise should make the issue stand out, but instead it seems average. Story choices and dialogue make the issue hard to follow and not worthwhile, and the artistic choices could easily be improved.
A group of people with fighting prowess travel to the Mexican border city of Cuidad Juarez, noted as the most murderous place on Earth. The group are about to find that out, but have to deal a shot to the head first.
The Mexican border city of Cuidad Juarez is the most unique and greatest potential Trouble Point #1 presents. All the information it gives about the border city is true, making it an interesting play between the fantasy of the world of lost souls and the realism of Cuidad Juarez. However, the story quickly becomes too confusing to understand. The explanations are drawn-out and only manage to bring the individual events (not their connections to each other) into focus for readers. These connections may be surprises for the next issue, but the events themselves seem so loosely connected that a tidbit should have been thrown to the reader to have everything make at least a little more sense.
The opening quickly switches between the world of lost souls and the real world, with a man trying to contact the spirits, who have finally started talking to him. Then his sister, a vampire with a great design, walks in scolding him for his carelessness. This scene was the one that made the most sense in the issue and made the opening feel solid. It set a couple of rules for the spiritual world without outright stating them. But then there is a nonexistent transition to a couple of other characters which is confusing. The dialogue and narration are interwoven with confusing imagery and plot points. Then there is another nonexistent and jumpy transition. Rinse and repeat until we get to the end of the issue. The transitions could have easily been bettered with the name of the new setting on the corner of the page, and with the avoidance of flipping back and forth between two pages. The one flaw of the opening was that the narrative kept switching between the world of lost souls and the real world. This made it confusing to follow what was happening. The parts should have been better divided by setting or character with better transitions that don't feel like jump cuts in a movie.
Making the artwork black-and-white was a great visual improvement – but only for the land of lost souls. The world of lost souls feels appropriately grim with the color scheme (or lack thereof). The overshadowing also gives the landscape a dreamscape feel. When we're transferred out of this scene, however, the lack of color and artwork become a hindrance. Because it's in black-and-white, this issue was always overusing the shading technique, making it hard to see what was going on at times and making the artwork much harder to look at in general. The overuse of shading was effective only in the world of lost souls. An easy way to remedy this would be to keep the world of lost souls in black-and-white while putting the "real" world in color. It would have been a much more effective tactic.
Already there are problems following the story, but now that is compounded with confusing artwork. This is the artwork's worst flaw. During action scenes, so much is going on and the transitions between panels are so jumpy that it is hard to tell what is going on in a fight scene. Readers will get a headache from trying to figure everything out.
As it stands, the real world is over shaded and hard to look at despite the benefits of usually well-drawn figures with great facial expressions. But even with great facial features and well-drawn bodies, a lot of the male characters look similar and are hard to tell apart in the mass of black-and-white. It does not help that there are so many characters, who are all clearly lacking a back-story, and whose names I could not even care enough to learn.
Trouble Point has potential because of the premise brimming under the surface. But with a lack of characters to care about, artistic malfunctions, and confusing transitions and story points, this issue has more trouble than point.
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.