Zenescope is probably best known for the provocative covers many, if not all, of their books sport. It seems like that trait is moving to their titles as well, as is prevalent with Screwed #1. This new book from creator Tyler Kirham is a modern day Frankenstein tale and Major Spoilers looks to see what it’s all about.
Action, mystery, suspense
Hooks the reader
Some of the dialogue is bad
Certain features on characters off
Previously in Screwed: A young woman has awoken in a hospital covered in scars as if she’s been sewn together. With no memory of who she is and her mind making her see monsters, she must find out what is happening and who wants her dead.
HELLO, MY NAME IS…
The title was the first thing that led me to check out Screwed #1, but after reading what it would be about, I was intrigued. I’ve not been a fan of many of the Zenescope titles I’ve read, along with some of the company’s “presentation”, but this one seemed interesting enough that I decided to crack it open. Turns out, I liked what I read. The setup is given right away on the inside cover, with a paragraph explaining what has happened. It would have been nice to have more of this in the actual book as opposed to a blurb as it throws the reader into the fray with little time to adjust. While this could be a drawback due to the series being six issues, it presented a problem nonetheless.
This was a fun read with suspense and the mystery is set up well. The young woman narrates the book and it helps introduce her character and parts of her past. Some of the narration falls into the trap of explaining what can clearly be seen taking place on the page, but that’s a minor problem. There is action right from the start with a quick pace that never lets up. Our protagonist gets in a fight with a man named Suture and ends up escaping, off to find out who she is. As a first issue, it definitely succeeded in making me want to read more. I want to know just who these characters are, who is the young woman and why is Suture trying to kill her? Who is he working for and why can electricity power them both? It’s clear many of these elements are from the Frankenstein tale but there’s enough of a twist that it is still exciting. The book attempts something new and, for the most part, is successful.
The biggest problem I have is with some of the dialogue. One of my pet peeves is when characters, usually villains, announce their names such as “They call me…” or “Call me…”. It’s as if the writer can’t think of a better introduction and it comes off as lazy writing. Suture announces his name exactly this way and it elicited a headshake and sigh. In fact, most of the bad dialogue comes from Suture in an attempt to make him an ass but instead making him annoying (and still an ass). Still, the rest of the book was enjoyable enough that I’ll be checking out the following issue.
My biggest issue with Zenescope titles has been the art, leaving me extremely disappointed considering how good their covers usually look. David Miller broke that trend and, just like the story, left me surprised. His work is more like something I would expect to see from Top Cow than Zenescope. Pages are packed with visual information. Characters and backgrounds fill panels and even burst outside of them and the tiniest details are drawn. Even with everything going on, the layout never suffered and flowed nicely. The women of course have large chests and tiny waists as expected not just from Zenescope but comics in general. Problems do arise in the proportions and facial features. Some of the people look like their growth has been stunted, with short arms and legs that don’t match the body size and a few faces come across strange. Overall, though, I liked what I saw and it increased my enjoyment of the issue.
BOTTOM LINE: I’LL BE BACK
I certainly had preconceptions as to what a Zenescope comic is and wrongly brought them with me, though that sometimes is unavoidable. I have to say, I was wrong. Screwed #1 made me change my view, even though some of my issues with the company’s output persist. Regardless, Screwed provides enough mystery and intrigue with its modern day Frankenstein hook that I’ll be back for further issues. Screwed #1 earns 3 out of 5 stars.