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Review: Dare Comics’ ‘The Hunter’

It’s always nice to receive mail. Especially unexpected mail.

And one of the perks is that sometimes, lovely people all over the world will send me things in the hopes that I’ll say something about them (hopefully nice) here. And so, we come to ‘The Hunter’.

‘The Hunter’ is a prestige-format comic from Dare Comics. It retails at $5.95 US and at first glance, is pretty well presented. The cover art is simple, but striking, reminding me a bit of Ken Steacy’s work. Presentation is crisp, clear and uncluttered.

The story begins with a series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks on the US, resulting in the appearance of a number of superhumans. One of the things I like about this series is that characters, when talking to other characters who know what’s going on, don’t feel the need to give the reader any unnecessary exposition. I like the fact that, at the end of issue 1, there’s still a feeling of mystery there about who these people are and what precisely they’re doing. Which is nice.

The scripting is fairly tight and well-paced, and the art is simple and effective, with some nice, clear linework and equally clear storytelling. The colouring also deserves major kudos, and ads a real vibrancy to the artwork.
Unfortunately, the story is not without its weaknesses. The figure work can be a bit stilted at times, and characters are frequently staring full into the camera… this may be a bit nitpicky, but I found it a little jarring.

Some elements of the writing were a little ‘off’ too. It’s obvious the writer is going for a Tom Clancy-esque technothriller vibe here, but the verisimilitude is a bit ‘off’. The characterisation was pretty thin, and everyone seemed to be acting like archetypal versions of their character. The president is strong, good mister president-man, our hero is mister hero man, the villain is mister villain man. Add that to some of the scenes (the arms deal, for instance) having dialogue so cliched that it could’ve come straight from a Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme film.
According to their website (www.darecomics.com), writer Adam Hamdy is a screenwriter (IMDB has three films listed), so I don’t know what background (if any), I don’t know anything about artist David Golding, but if this is their first published comics work, it’s pretty sharp. Slick, professional, well-presented and pretty tight.

There are some teething problems, but seriously, if this is the first offering, it’s pretty darned good. It’s not the most original thing I’ve ever seen, but if you like your comics as straight-up, two-fisted action, you could do a hell of a lot worse. I think how well it’ll do overall will be reflected in how well the creators deal with the mystery elements.

If the ‘sleeper’ thing is resolved well, then I think we’re cooking with gas. If not, then it could fizzle. Keep me interested.

Just as an aside, I think it could’ve worked really well in a manga style. There’s something about it that reminds me of Japanese ‘not quite superhero’ stuff like Guyver or Cyborg 009 that has all the superhero tropes but isn’t wholly there.

11 Comments

Here is Golding’s website. Seems he’s done a a bit of comics work.

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hwan Demingez

July 29, 2009 at 3:18 am

I have recently read these ‘Hunter’ books on the net…. aaaand, well, i wasn’t impressed!
The story is dull… terrorists, one group of beings that can save the earth… consiparcy that goes all the way to the top!… blah blah blah! this is like a bad movie, one of those you start watching and then only continue to watch because you made the effort to watch in the first place!

The art work is really stiff, the lines are bold and backgrounds standout as strongly as the characters do in nearly all the panels. There’s very little dynamic movement.

With a few tweaks here and there this could be an awsome story… a more energetic, cared for style of art would make this a winner. lets see what these guys do next!

adrian langton

July 29, 2009 at 3:28 am

I completely agree! the cover art is spot on, very nice and crisp, just the right amount of touching up.
the inside art: slightly manikin like! which is quite suprising, as I am familiar with David Goldings work and he has some outstanding pieces… i think the use of photoshop and heavy colour hampered the art.

The story is loose! no real care has been taken in introducing the characters and they’re all cliched! An effort has been made to grab the readers attention straight away with the terrorist attack and from then it just feels messy! a shame considering the story and characters have imense potential if handled better. more fluidty with the art work and less time watching the hallmark channel for the writer!

LOL! Stan Lee and Jack Kirby my ass!!

johnathan moss

July 31, 2009 at 2:08 pm

hunter is cool dude

I read part of the first of the hunter series last year and I have to say it was a bag of shite!
The story seemed rushed and way too cliched! Your token baddies and goodies were all there – which is fine! But nothing about this story was any different from any other. I didn’t even bother reading on, I picked up a copy of harry potter and was done with it.
I want by 5 bucks back!!

I read these books recently on the net after visiting the London Con a few weeks back.

Pros: Anyone who likes fast paced stories will love the way these books flow… the don’t slow down for a second!
The fundemental idea for the story is a good and much more can be built on. The characters have huge amounts of potential and look smashing.
The covers for the books are really cool.

Cons: These books are very very predictable! I zoned out of the story a few times and just began flicking throught the art work… and found I could still follow what was happening because the story was that easy!
CHEESE! And lots of it! cheesy cliched lines and set ups all over the place!

…The art starts out extremely ridgid! but slowly relaxes as the books progress. The action never really explodes!

As a first go, these guys have done well. It’s definetely not the worst comic out there, but so much more could be done with it.

george of the jungle

September 7, 2009 at 6:14 am

The art is ok, nothing overly impressive. I’ve seen way better. The writing on the other hand…shockingly bad. I went to the london comic-con a while back and I saw the writer giving a talk, for someone so sure of himself, he’s writing lacks something. READABILITY!!!

I liked it. It has it’s flaws but it was fun and the writing and art got much better by the time I hit issue 4. Good first effort. I’ve taken a look at their new title Starmaker and it looks much better.

I met the creators at Comiccon preview night. Really nice guys. They spent a long time talking to me and my girl. Their true geeks so don’t get them started if you are in a rush. I’m guessing the haters on this board aren’t American, because the Hunter is a good old fashioned american superhero comic . It’s got cliches, foreshadowing and the artwork is a little stodgy in places, but the concept is awesome and you can tell its made with love. Working alone these guys delivered a 300 page series that works. What makes it more impressive is that this was their first comic. Only a nut tries something that big their first time out. And these guys have learned from their mistakes. Their new book Starmaker is amazing. I’m not even going to try to explain it. Unless they drop the ball its shaping up to be a verys pecial series.

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