Circuit-Breaker #1 Review

Circuit-Breaker #1
Writer: Kevin McCarthy
Pencils: Kyle Baker
Colors: Kyle Baker and Mindy Steffen
Letters: Kyle Baker and Mindy Steffen
Publisher: Image

During World War 4, Japan was saved by their heroic robot servants.  Humanity is, as always unappreciative and the ones who have secured their survival are now outlawed.  The robots don’t take too kindly too their mistreatment and turn against mankind, unleashing a war of destruction and terror upon Earth.  The once celebrated now hated robot creator, builds one more military robot, this time disguising it as his teenaged granddaughter named Chiren and tasks her with the responsibility to protect the human race and defend it from her own kind.  Will she bring peace for humanity or question her programming and instead be the final nail in the coffin?

This is a premise that has been time and time again.  From hollywood films like the Terminator, to other comic books stories like X-Men: Days of Future Past.  There is nothing wrong with using a set up that has been done on countless times.  If you’re going to use it though you need to bring something new to the table, provide us with solid themes, create memorable characters that the reader/viewer can become invested in.  At least one of them or a combination of them.  Kevin McCarthy’s Circuit-Breaker #1 disappointingly doesn’t.

This is a synopsis that is timeless in my opinion because it’s ripe for theme analyzation and commentary on the periods society’s relationship with technology.  Has mankind become to dependent on technology?  Should we separate from it?  Are we able to separate from it?  Will technology revolt if man does so?  Should humanity separate from technology entirely or find a proper balance?  What is the proper balance?  Is there a proper balance?  When we’re introduced to our protagonist Chiren, we should also be asked if she can overcome the obstacles of being hated by those whom she has been programed to protect?  Or will she turn on those who discriminate against her?

These are all questions that can be delved into with this premise that is presented to us.  Unfortunately McCarthy feels that it’s much more important to spew out exposition rather then flesh out the characters or themes that should be asked in this series.  The little characterization we do get is difficult to become invested in because the dialogue is very crude, I found my self needing to turn the back the pages and reread conversations.

There are some upsides to this first issue fortunately, that being that it’s quite charming at times with its humor and the book does provide some good laughs.  It also makes some nice references to Japanese anime and manga as well as Super Sentai, the show that inspired the Power Rangers.  However all those positives makes the overall tone of the book uneven.  This is a hard to define and categorize comic and one would find difficulty if asked to explain it.  To be honest, you can call that both a strength and weakness.

Another charming spotlight of Circuit-Breaker #1 is its artwork done by Kyle Baker with color assist from Mindy Steffen.  The style and designs of the characters is very reminiscent and heavily inspired by Japanese manga/anime.  However it’s not a direct copy and Baker puts his own unique twist on it.  The coloring is very bright and light, making this an extremely eye pleasing issue.  However, while the character designs are a lot of fun and detailed, the backgrounds at times are a bit lackluster.  It does keep the eye focused on the foreground but more detailed is needed.

Final Verdict

Circuit-Breaker #1 ultimately disappoints in grabbing my investment in this new series.  While it does use a premise that is great for theme analyzation, character building, and society commentary, the issue doesn’t explore them.  It instead uses its time to explain exposition.  Yet some comics, even excellent ones have had shaky starts and perhaps Circuit-Breaker is one of them.  If it fails to dig into any of these great nuggets that this synopsis provides, at least I can hope for some visual eye candy.

Score: 2 out of 5

Review by Eric Bradach

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