Review: Threshold #1 by Keith Giffen, Tom Raney, and Scott Kolins
by Joe Smith on January 19, 2013

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Review:  Threshold #1

“The Hunted” and (“Nine Tenths of the Law”)

Published by DC Comics

Written by Keith Giffen

Art by Tom Raney (and Scott Kolins)

Coloured by Andrew Dalhouse (and John Kalisz)

The Plot

A purple media personality is going through the rules of The Hunted, which is being broadcast on television.  Caul is walking through the streets of Tolerance (with a haircut now) and is recognized right away as there is a big sign with his face right above him.  He tries to make his escape and is aided by someone named Ember.  They have to take some uncomfortable routes as well as get into a couple of fights.  Eventually they get into a disagreement and they part ways, which leaves Caul feeling a bit bad about not showing his appreciation.  There’s a military commercial and then it cuts away to a former military member named Stealth who is also one of the hunted.  She runs into another hunted by the name of Ric Starr.  In the meantime, there are some aliens disagreeing about how Caul is being handled as one of them believes he’s too much of a threat because he is a Green Lantern.  Ric proposes an alliance with Stealth and reveals that Crimson Thrust is about to attack her.

In the backup story, over in the Vega System, Larfleeze is attempting to create a book of himself because the Guardians have a chronicle themselves.  Stargrave (who was kidnapped by Larfleeze by his former employer) then tries to take down Larfleeze’s notes for his story.  Then through an alert system created by Larfleeze he learns of another Orange Lantern elsewhere.  In a fit of rage he goes to investigate, but soon learns that not all is as it seems.  He returns home to find an unexpected surprise.

The Breakdown

This story continues off of New Guardians Annual #1 and there are some aspects to this story that are affected if you haven’t read both issues.  However, the concept of an entire planet being the site of a hunting game is interesting.  Usually it’s a battlefield or something and the environment is populated by regular citizens.  The fact that Ric and Stealth (who folks may remember from the classic DC Universe as a member of L.E.G.I.O.N.) both know of each other does make for some decent continuity.  Neither person is an unknown and both have had some relevant exploits within that galaxy.  Caul’s showing some regret at his treatment of Ember does show that he has some characteristics other than selfishness.  I’m also glad that he got a haircut.  The backup story was amusing as Larfleeze is genuinely…well, dumb.  His self-serving story was reminiscent of Mr. Burns telling his story in the Simpsons.  It’s been previously established that his mind has been ravaged by the effects of wielding the orange light.  He’s very powerful, but light on common sense.  His greedy nature doesn’t come off as annoying as usual partly because it plays off of humour.  Raney’s art is nice to look at and even in the small panels he’s able to squeeze off a fair bit of detail.

BUT…

The cliffhanger at the end of the book would mean absolutely nothing if you didn’t read the New Guardians annual last week.  One of my problems is that Caul’s character still isn’t very sympathetic.  I don’t feel like I have a good grasp on him at all after two issues.  I have to use Baz as a comparison because in one issue he was a good, well-rounded character.  I think that his character (Jediah Caul) could’ve been expanded upon earlier, which would make his current predicament something to care more about.  Perhaps if they used another cosmic character like Adam Strange and placed him in Tolerance we could care more about the situation.  Unfortunately, he seems like such a hollow character that I just can’t get behind him in this story yet.  Too many characters are introduced this issue and I just couldn’t get a feel for any of them yet.  There are some things that if done differently, could have greatly improved this book.  The tone of the book could be a bit darker as well.  What was the point of Caul’s mask design if it did absolutely nothing to protect his identity as he was spotted so quickly.  I still cannot buy into Crimson Thrust being such a threat due to their costume designs.  They should have a different look to them.  The conversation with the aliens helping to run the game was also a bit too much.  There’s a lot going on, a lot of dialogue, and a lot of characters and it was all hard to keep up with.  This made the book a lot less engaging.  I’m glad that this book isn’t another Hunger Games-ish one because that concept is already getting a lot of play.  This is more like…Gymkata.  There are some good ideas here, but the execution is just not working for me.  After spending ten bucks on this storyline I should feel more invested in it and with a better grasp of the lead character.  The one thing that I didn’t like about Larfleeze is that he didn’t have that orange glow to him that he usually does.  It’s a good visual effect and it’s appropriate considering that he’s a one-man corps.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Shelf Read It.  It could have been worse, but it also could have been better.  Check it out at your LCS and see if it’s for you.  I was considering giving this series one more issue, but the four dollar price tag hurts that prospect.  After two issues and a whole lot of pages, I don’t care about Jediah Caul yet and I’m not invested in Tolerance either.  There’s too much going on in this issue (and in some cases not enough), which makes it difficult to latch onto.  For four dollars there’s a lot of other books that I could recommend reading.



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