It’s so often true of comics as it is of movies: A project based on a novel or series of novels often has a good, solid story with it. Granted, there will be changes to make the story fit the format, but it will hang together very well.
Marvel recently printed a miniseries based on James Peterson’s Maximum Ride books, and I enjoyed it a lot! Some folks might immediately be turned away when they find out these are “young adult” books, but don’t let that fool you. The tale is a good one, worthy of finding an audience among comics readers.
Previously in MAX RIDE: FIRST FLIGHT: “Max and the Flock get closer to uncovering their past, but is it all just a game of entrapment? The best-selling series by acclaimed author James Patterson gets some Marvel love in this all-new adaptation.”
GOOD CHARACTERS, MOVING STORY
I often find myself liking the books Marvel makes that aren’t in the top sales tiers. I’m not much for the X-titles or the Avengers comics, but I’m greatly looking forward to the recently announced Black Knight book. Each to his or her own, I guess!
Like many “young adult” works, this series deals with a group of teens who are determined to find their place in the world. That often has to do with locating where they came from. Because they’re origins are somewhat mirky, finding that out is something that will take quite a bit of effort on their part.
They have a “father” of sorts, but he hasn’t really been a good one in very many levels, if any. This final issue of the miniseries reveals several important aspects of the part-human and part-avian teens, but like many good stories, not everything is resolved.
Both Patterson and Bennett have fleshed these genetically enhanced characters out very well. Patterson has developed the group, then Bennett has made them work in the comics format. “Max” is actually short for Maximum, which was a nice twist.
The pacing works well in this concluding issue, with several surprises along the way. I would have liked the big battle between the flock and another group of “father’s” creations to be flushed out more, but that’s okay … this time. And it’s normal for teens to rebel against their parents, after all, isn’t it?
I particularly enjoyed the last few pages, where Max recaps what’s happened to her and her “flock” – Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel – and sets up things for potential future comics miniseries’.
GREAT COMIC ART
I like Sanchez’s art in this miniseries, which includes good facial expressions, proper use of perspective and choice of panel sizes to make some happenings “pop” off the page. I also liked the use of color, although I would have preferred more shadows. Everything looked just a little too brightly lit to suit me!
The teens are easily identifiable one from another, which is really critical in a book like this. They each have different abilities, although they each have wings. It takes more than powers to tell one from another, and the art accomplishes that very well.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Solid Storytelling
I’ve often enjoyed comics that focus on teen-agers even though I haven’t been one in quite some time. The “coming of age” event always gets me because the transition from child to adult is truly a significant stage in a person’s life. How we go through that will likely influence us for years to come, if not the rest of our lives.
As Max and her flock “stretch their wings” (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.) and learn more about themselves and each other, I’m going to be interested in watching their progression as well as their adventures. I’m almost interested in going back to the books as I did with Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files. We’ll see if I have enough time to do that!
You don’t need to be a teen to like this miniseries, in my opinion. Those of us who have been around past our teen years can still likely remember them and get into the characters and their journeys. If you enjoy group titles and extended storylines, this miniseries (and future ones) are likely for you!
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