Publisher: Aspen Comics
In the universe of Shrugged, Angels and Demons exist and have day jobs. Thanks to some unknown contract between Elysium (Heaven) and Nefaria (Hell), each side assigns a representative to a human to give guidance and protection. Angelina and Devonshire are Theo’s guardian angel and demon. He is a high school senior. Ange and Dev fill the role of a stereotypical angel and demon. After meeting Theo’s friends, love interest/new girl, the action shifts to Perspecta, where two other characters discuss potential conflicts later in the series.
This issue is an ideal first issue. It explains everything the reader needs to know about what comes before it. In 12 pages, we know who Theo’s friends are. We know who his rivals are. And we know who gets to play Superego and Id. We also learn about the potential conflict in the series.
What it has going for it is that it’s a loss leader. Sold at a negative profit on purpose, a loss leader attracts potential customers who might be turned off at the 2.99 cover price. At the suggested price of a dollar, readers are able to try it out at next to no cost to them. That is the biggest positive about Shrugged.
What does not work is the use of clichés in the series. Every character looks and acts like a high school stereotype. There is a goth girl who wears a leather jacket. There is an overweight class clown. There is the cheerleader girl, the rich guy, the new kid, and a best friend to round out the set. Each character looks and feel like their Breakfast Club counterparts, which would be fine if it were the first series. By the second series, I would expect something more from them.
There is a problem with the artwork that I have to comment on. The characters never emote and as a result they look robotic. I can’t tell if the characters are being serious, sarcastic, or angry. It ruins my enjoyment of the comic book because I do not know what they are thinking. Had the artist took some time and drew emotions on the faces, I would have liked it better
Final Verdict: Negative.
Shrugged does not feel accessible to new readers. It feels mostly like a recap for older readers, ones who’ve read the first series already. I would have preferred a new story with the characters, one where I have to catch up to the action. That way, I’d have an incentive to read the last series.
Images accessed from aspencomics.com.