American Muscle written by Steve Niles, art by Kevin Mellon. Triggergirl 6 written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, art by Phil Noto.
As I write this review, I got more out of Creator Owned Heroes #1 than Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1. One reason is that I’m impressed by COH having more content. However, the content should’ve been arranged better. The Editor-in-Chief in me would’ve ordered the content thus (excluding ads):
If COH was graded only on the two comic features, I would’ve marked “incomplete.” Tension builds better in American Muscle than in TriggerGirl 6. Muscle has a thrilling sequence of events involving survivors moving to a new destination during the Apocalypse.
Triggergirl is a bit frustrating with inconclusive attempts at government intrigue. There’s one cool action sequence with Triggergirl versus a few planes, but I didn’t care for anyone.
Triggergirl has the better art and that’s not because of Noto or the Abene twin’s representations of the title character. Muscle has splotchy colors and some of the finished art looks like quick sketches. Triggergirl is visually better because of its stylized, almost sterile near-futuristic setting. The comics are rough around the edges, but they didn’t destroy my enthusiasm for the COH project.
Now, some thoughts on the non-comic features. Gaiman seems refreshingly honest, the Abene twins successfully realize the look of Triggergirl 6, and I enjoyed the other contributor’s thoughts and opinions. While I appreciate having vast independent alternatives to DC and Marvel, it felt like there’s a non-stop thing to tell us how great CREATOR-OWNED comics are. If the non-comics features were spread out like I suggested above then I would’ve been less numb.
Does my review suggest that creator-owned efforts are done in vain? NO! I want to see the next pieces of the puzzle for both comics. I really appreciate the magazine format. Hopefully, COH should improve and will help move comics forward. Creativity should never reach its apocalypse.
BONUS: Gratuitous interview of the Abene twins conducted by Undying Magic.