Abyss is the latest comic title from the Canadian publisher Red 5, best known for their Atomic Robo series. Abyss focuses on Eric Hoffman, who has just inherited his father’s mansion, corporate fortune, and super-villain tech. If this sounds slightly familiar, you might be thinking of the starting premise of Wanted by Mark Millar. Abyss is no rip-off though, instead taking a lighthearted look at a young man trying to define himself in the long shadow of his father’s legacy.
Kevin Rubio’s dialogue ranges from spot-on to slightly too-cute for me, but his plotting and pacing are great. I especially enjoyed the actor impersonating a hero to prepare for an upcoming movie role, and how he is treated in comparison to Eric, whose attempts at being a hero are tainted in the eyes of others. Alfonso Ruiz nails the art in the book; his illustration technique is a blend of traditional American style with Japanese manga influences. The panels feel energetic and fast moving, and this keeps you reading easily, even during the dialogue heavy, character development pages mid-way through the issue. Special kudos to colourist Garry Henderson, whose work nicely enhances Ruiz’s style, with hot, smooth colours that offset Abyss’ dark costume.
Abyss: Family Values #1 follows an earlier mini-series that is now collected in TPB format. Still, the plot quickly brings new readers up to speed in a slightly tongue-in-cheek manner. Being a small publisher can be difficult, and being a small publisher in Canada, even more so. Red 5 Comics though, has a knack of producing great books and they have another hit on their hands with Abyss: Family Values.