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Review – The Argus #2 (Action Lab Danger Zone)

The Argus #2 (Action Lab Danger Zone) cover (detail) by Darryl Knickrehm
Overall
6.7/10
6.7/10
  • Writing - 6/10
    6/10
  • Art - 7/10
    7/10
  • Overall - 7/10
    7/10
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The Argus #2

Co-creators: Mark Bertolini and Darryl Knickrehm
Writer: Mark Bertolini
Art: Darryl Knickrehm
Publisher: Action Lab Danger Zone
Maturity Rating: Mature Readers
Release Date: March 2020

The team of The Argus “time police” have retreated to a pocket dimension of sorts to recuperate before returning to the fight.

The Argus #2 – How Do You Decorate a Room a Thousand Years Wide?

In The Argus #2, the team of The Argus “time police” have retreated to a pocket dimension of sorts to catch their breath after the events in issue #1. The youngest Randall begins to train with the other versions of himself to prepare for the inevitable confrontation with our villain—someone who is clearly off his rocker, and is doing villainous things for sure while his motivations remain unclear. What is apparent, however, is that he’s more of a threat than the Argus team had anticipated. They may have to resort to a last-ditch plan to stop further damage to the timeline.

Writing

The Argus #2 (Action Lab Danger Zone) cover by Darryl Knickrehm
The Argus #2 (Action Lab Danger Zone) cover by Darryl Knickrehm

The writing by Mark Bertolini is a strong point here. But it isn’t much of one, given how it goes up against just mediocre coloring and decent artwork. When the cast is comprised entirely of different versions of the same person, you’re painted into a corner in terms of what you can do with characterization. We continue the adventures of Grizzled-Randall, and Seasoned-Randall, and Crazy-Randall, Smarmy-Randall, and Randall Prime—and none of these characters really “hit” with me. Grizzled-Randall, aka Not Marvel’s Cable, is perhaps the best of the bunch. And that’s only because he’s your typical grumpy, aging soldier who, while a capable fighter, is clearly getting too old for this stuff.

I would have liked to see some variety here. Give us a plucky A.I. companion, or some expendable enemy robots to punch up the action sequences. Something other than Randall #45, please? Imagine if Quantum Leap consisted only of Sam traveling back through his own life and inhabiting prior versions of himself, with no other supporting cast. Time-travel is a wonderfully exciting concept to play around with! But it feels like The Argus here isn’t having any fun with it.

Art

My small misgivings about the coloring by Darryl Knickrehm persist; every page feels muddied and same-y with little color variation between environments and characters. This style would have been better suited for a flashback or a sequence existing outside of normal reality (i.e. going through a time-tunnel). To have it dominate every page is becoming grating. The characters are difficult to tell apart aside from major facial or costume features. And while you can follow what is going on and who’s doing what, it isn’t a very enjoyable experience. For a medium where visuals are key, having capable art dragged down by uninteresting coloring is a shame.

Lettering remains functional, useful. There’s some variation as a character’s clearly-strained speech helped sell what was happening to them. Our villain’s presumably manic method of speechifying is also denoted in different lettering, which wasn’t unwelcome.

Overall

I can’t say The Argus #2 has dazzled me. I’m on the hook because now I’m invested enough to want to know what happens next, but I’m not excited about it. I’ve been hoping for a time-travel romp that starts to open up with new characters and ideas, but that isn’t happening. I’m not sure it ever will. Issue #3 has an uphill climb to get through to keep me reading.

 


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Tim Gulics

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