Story/letters: Micah Myers
Art: Javier Caba
Colors: Meg Casey & Fred C. Stresing
Editor: Mike Exner III
Publisher: Loophole Comics
The Disasters #1 features four villains with varying degrees of villain experience and skill, one massive dick of a superhero, a giant explosion and a good ol’ fashioned BBQ dinner.
Myers and Caba do great work dreaming up each of the quartet’s backstories, mannerisms and personalities. We’ve got enough visual variation in their costumes and gimmicks to understand a bit about their characters from looking at them. We get our info dump at the appropriate time – when the gang gets together for dinner after the incident, not during a high-stakes fight. Each of our anti-heroes comes into being a villain in a way that feels true, and even if we might’ve seen similar conflicts and motivations in the past, The Disasters freshens up the details and gets us laughing. There’s good banter between each of them, and Bimara is a perfect blend of smart mark wrestling fan and earnest, fresh villain. There are just a few spots where the narration could be cut a bit, particularly in the dinner scene, but Myers does good work to keep us engaged, make each character distinct and give each a unique voice.
Additionally, Myers does good work to flesh out the villain union gimmick so it also feels believable without losing its comedy edge. Caba accents this with great villain character design and detailed backgrounds. There are loads of small visual gags throughout this first issue, and they either blend into the background of this odd world or pop if you’re paying attention and go for that sort of thing. A villain handing over his business card is played for the right kind of laughs, even though it’s clear these people do take their jobs seriously within the world. Most of the action is similarly humorous in this first issue save Enforcer’s more serious beef with Night Guardian, and it all works. Caba does plenty of wide-eyed, bulging-cheeked cartooning, but keeps Bimara’s facial expressions youthful and, frankly, adorable. She might have a disgusting (and awesome!) power, but her earnestness comes through in her body language and her expressions. Her vulnerability doesn’t preclude her ability to kick butt, however. Enforcer’s grizzled road-vet wrestler aesthetic keeps him on a low simmer through the issue, while Snow Globe and Glider Hench #4 add some Silver-Age fun and chaos to the gang’s vibe.
Bonus shout-out to ORANGUTA.N.K. Exactly the kind of comic-book-ass comic nonsense I adore.
Casey and Stresing know how to dim the lights and set a nighttime rooftop scene, and they also understand when we need some color pops to make each character’s powers shine. Enforcer’s two-toned move on page 3 (above) is a great example of how to use color to highlight and crystallize a particular action within a scene. The color choices complement the more subdued hues we see as Enforcer and Night Guardian face off. It’s also a bit of a multi-sensory reference, as those colors evoke the crowd pop a wrestling move like Enforcer’s would elicit at a live match. Snow Globe’s garish Christmas colors are hilarious, as is his lair of everything that could possibly explode, and Casey and Stresing know how to work a light source for the most drama and humor possible.
Myers’ lettering is fun and functional. We’re treated to color-coded caption boxes when we need them, a nice rickety stroke on the balloons and good placement. The explosion features a more-than-appropriate page-width sound effect, and there are a few sotto voce balloons that play well because they’re not overly stylized. Myers keeps the tails nice and short, and somehow manages to get a visceral, text-based joke to land with Night Guardian’s dry-heaving in the first part of the book. Well done.
Overall, The Disasters #1 is a little talky but a lot chaotic, and the chaos wins – as it should. Each character gets some real estate, Myers and Caba craft a great comic vibe, Casey and Stresing accent the humor and moodiness of each scene as it needs to play, and Myers’ lettering makes for a lovely package overall. Fans of zany villain hijinks and wrestling definitely need to check this one out, and it’d be a fun one for teens, as well.
Final Verdict: 8/10 – The Disasters is the best kind of disaster, and blends comic humor with wrestling nonsense, fun world-building and, yes, a little bit of genuine heart.