I’ll be honest, the only reason I picked up Sparks #1 was because my comic guy had writer Chris Folino and Catastrophic Comics founder William Katt at his store as a promotion for the first issue. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to get some free signatures, and after reading the issue, I realize I have received more than just an awesome collectors item.

Sparks is a picture focused, noir style comic, and the first issue was jam packed with action!

A brief synopsis:

The book begins with the main character, a bloodied Ian Sparks, painstakingly arriving at a newspaper office ready to report his own death. The scene then cuts to the story of Ian’s past which is both tragic and life changing; he decides he wants to become a super hero, and with his Grandma’s help, he does.

For the remainder of the issue, we take a narrative journey through Ian’s heroic life thus far as the super hero Spark. As action scenes are reenacted with dialogue boxes serving as his inner monologue, Spark introduces the supporting cast: his beautiful blonde partner known to us only as The Lady, and the evil gas mask wearing, super hero killing, gang of Dr. Matanza.

As Spark continues to unfold his past, the issue suddenly ends on a cliff hanger, leaving the reader invested in the characters, but confused as to what exactly is going on… In a good way.

Some thoughts on the issue:

-This premier issue is short on words, and big on picture story telling, which fits the noir style of the book. Even so, at first this turned me off as I pegged the book to be another cheap one-word-ballon-per-panel title. Happily, I was wrong. The style grew on me as the issue progressed, and while Christopher Folino’s words are few, he cuts the B material and uses dialogue only when necessary, letting the art speak for itself. It’s like watching a good play where the actors don’t tell you how they’re feeling, they show you. It makes for far better story telling, and it works great here.

-JM Ringuet’s art is fantastic. Since no colorer or inker is credited, I’m assuming he did those jobs as well as the pencils, and he definitely delivers. His dark, blended colors compliment thick lines and heavy inking, all of which abets the noir style of the book. While Ringuet’s human faces can be penciled a bit odd at times, his female bodies look great. He captures the female body very beautifully for this style.

-Some one liners:

“I believed it was my fate to become a Super and to save others… Proof right there that I was a moron at an early age.” – Spark

“She was the type of woman whose first name you instantly wanted to add to your last.” – Spark

“It was a magical time… But reality would soon screw it up.” – Spark

-From the splash page, to the shot of a torture table complete with a hot female victim, to roof top nookie, Ringuet’s full page spreads are exquisitely done.

-On the inside cover of the issue, Catastrophic Comics company founder and Sparks co-creator, William Katt, gives an awesome introduction about his company and what he hopes to accomplish. I appreciate it when editors and creators take the time to address their fan base personally and sincerely. In this short speech, Katt represents his new business very well.

The final word:

Since Sparks is only a six issue mini-series and I thoroughly enjoyed this issue, the title will remain securely on my pull list. Wether you’re into picture to picture story telling, want to be cool and help out a new comics publisher, or are just looking for something new and fun to read, give this title a whirl.

I know I’m looking forward to future issues when sparks will really start to fly…

4/5 stars

Sparks #1