Shades of Blue #1 to #3

Posted: Tuesday, December 19, 2000
By: Darren Schroeder

Writer(s): James S. Harris, Rachel Nacion
Artist(s): Greg Grucel (#1 & 2), Roy Park (#1) & Cal Slayton (#3)
Publishers: Amp Comics
From: USA

So anyway, I had to find some new small press material to review before the Big Kahuna started making nasty noises. What was I to do? Then, out of the blue came 3 issues of Shades of Blue. Just What I needed. The attractively designed covers got me in a good mood to start with, but my super keen critic senses insured I wasn't going to swayed by that alone.

On reading the books I found an amusingly told story about Heidi, whose days at high school had be enlivened when her hair changes to a bright shade of blue and a newly found ability to zap stuff with an electric charge. The dialogue is cleverly written, with exposition kept to the absolute minimum while still ensuring everything makes sense. It possesses a nice self referential feel to it as the script occasionally breaks the fourth wall. Heidi also has to deal with her mixed up love life in which she loves a guy who doesn't know she exists and is the object of desire of a guy who she hardly bothers to notice.

In the first issue Heidi's younger sister best friend is amongst a group of students held captive by a deranged super hero, so she rings her and demands that Heidi use her new found powers to save the day, because what other use are they? Heidi obliges in a very unprofessional manner. The following issues deal with her attempts to identify the culprit behind this attack and her friends' demands that she do more superhero stuff. Along side this main plot line there are various strangers arriving in town who seem to posses strange powers...

The tone of the book so far is light, with lots of fun being made of the usual superhero cliches. One running gag is Heidi's incongruity at the ease with which a mask hides her identity. Over the course of the series the art team has changed which I'm not sure is a good thing. While Greg's artwork was not as polished as Cal's, some of the rough edges gave the book a more atmospheric feel. The characters clothes had rumbles and the school looked lived in. Cal's work is so polished that it verges on making everything look rather bland, though fans of the Batman Animated style will feel at home with this.

While it has to be said that there is more than a slight trace of a certain vampire slayer to make this a completely original concept, that doesn't detract from the talent the creative team exhibits. It is nice to see good art being teamed with clever writing.

In a Word: Polished.

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