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Review: Quincredible Vol. 1

Quincredible Volume 1

Full disclosure: My email account may also be a time machine. Allow me to explain. When I saw the email from Lionforge with the opportunity to review this graphic novel, I thought it sounded like a very interesting read. Before I started reading this it, I did a little Google research. I discovered that Quincredible Volume 1 was already released in 2019. According to the publisher, the book I had the opportunity to review is due out on February 24th of next year. So, I’m not sure if my email has allowed me to travel to the past or if this is a second printing of this series’ first story arc or the first time this arc has been released as a trade paperback. In any case, if you don’t have access to a time machine of your own, missed this title the first time around, or are like me and have never heard of it before, now’s your chance to enter the world of Quincredible. (Note: The first volume gets a reprinting in a new trim-sized format for 2021 – Ed)

The first arc of this series, written by Rodney Barnes, is entitled, “Quest to be the Best.” After a meteor shower rained down on his Louisiana Parish, Quin woke up to find he’d gained the superpower of invulnerability. Unfortunately, he’s still just a lightweight teenager, and this power doesn’t seem to do him much good. Quin compensates for his lack of strength by outsmarting the criminals he faces by outmaneuvering them or catching them in traps. Although there were some things I liked about the first volume of this series, I wasn’t blown away by the storytelling.

There were of course a few high points. For one, Quin’s positive relationship with his father is front and center. Considering how many heroes either don’t have parents or don’t see eye to eye with them, this was a nice touch. I also found it very interesting, not to mention another nice change of pace, that it’s the smartest girl in school Quinn hopes will notice him one day and not the hottest, as is so often the case. The designs of the superhero’s costumes are cool, but many of them seemed almost too futuristic. Aside from this being a story featuring people with superpowers, everything else felt really grounded. Even with superpowers, Quinn leads an ordinary life. The book explores themes and events that occur in the real world every day. The one exception being that there just happen to be superheroes in the world of Quincredible as well. So the high tech looking costumes felt out of place, especially for a bunch of basically independent New Orleans superheroes.

In fact, I’m just going to come out and say it, this title would be better if it weren’t about superheroes at all. Take out the superpower aspects, and give me a black teenager who wants to make a difference in his community, so he uses his intelligence and elaborate traps to help the police fight crime. That’s what I would have liked to see out of Quincredible. Instead, his invulnerability often feels like an afterthought and most of the best moments in this first volume are all about Quin and his beliefs or relationships. None of which are made better when his superpower is factored into the equation. The invulnerability just seems unnecessary and I feel like it gets in the way of the storytelling. By the third time Quin took a laser blast and was unschathed, the gimmick got really old.

The synergy between illustrator Selina Espiritu and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick is obvious on every page. I loved the use of shadow as it really helped convey depth and perspective. If left to stand on their own, both the colors and line work would come off looking flat. Luckily, Espiritu and Fitzpatrick’s talents complement each other and elevate the artwork in Quincredible. Espiritu also does a great job of conveying motion throughout the book, keeping the still images from looking overtly static.

I assume this series is geared for a young adult audience, but with that being said, I found the dialogue to be too simple and juvenile. I read quite a bit of YA genre fiction, and it doesn’t have to be watered down to be relatable and entertaining to readers of all ages. Diversity and representation are always good, especially in comic books, but I found Quincredible’s story to be kind of boring. The characters are relatable and fun to root for, but the plot and dialogue were underwhelming. There are a few creative touches in regard to the writing, but overall, the story doesn’t really stand out. The artwork isn’t mind-blowing, but it is of good quality and technically well done. The artwork does keep the story visually interesting and helps sell an otherwise bland narrative.

The volume Lionforge provided me to review is solicited for release on 2-23-2021.

Story: Rodney Barnes Art: Selina Espiritu
Color: Kelly Fitzpatrick Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 4.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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