This comic really took me back...back to the 90s. I was a big fan when Image was born. All of the 'hot' artists at the time decided to stand up for themselves and create something new. We had a lot of flashy new books...that sometimes fell a little flat on the storytelling. But it was a fun time. I will admit that I don't keep up with all of the existing core-Image titles. The ones that I don't, I do pick them up periodically to keep up with what is going on. This big crossover is something that I have been excited about since I first heard the details. The idea of Robert Kirkman writing a story drawn by Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino just seemed crazy. I was worried about how the story would "look" with all the artists doing their thing. Could this issue live up to the expectations I was builiding?
In my opinion, this book was a success. It simply 'worked.' My biggest fear of awkward transitions or panel layouts among the different artists wasn't a problem. There were times that I almost forgot there was more than one artist. Part of it could be on the way Rob Liefeld did the layouts. Part of it could also be that I was getting sucked into Kirkman's story. Writing a crossover isn't the easiest thing to do. Often they just feel forced. You can tell that different characters are being thrown together just to make an event in the comic. That's not the case here. We don't get every single character together on the same page, at least, not yet. If these characters do exist in the same 'universe,' it makes sense that they should show up at the same crisis. And from the first page, we see that something is purposely drawing them all together.
When thinking over my rating, I do have to say that this is coming from someone that saw the creation of all these characters. There might be a slight nostalgia factor influencing it. You could almost say that parts of this issue are borderline cliche. I believe the point of this series is to entertain. Give the readers a chance to see all these artists together. Is it a gimmick? Maybe. But it was fun. I mentioned the fact that this is a 'first issue' and we don't get the whole story. We don't know what the main driving force of the evil crisis is. That's part of what will bring you back to issue #2. For those that weren't reading the original Image comics, this might seem like just another splashy comic with a bunch of characters running around. I do feel new readers can jump on board and get to know the characters (after all, the character Fortress himself doesn't know all the characters either). This comic is like a summer-popcorn-action movie. It might not be the absolute best comic ever created but I feel it does deserve the high rating I gave it. I dug the story, I loved the art, I was entertained...that's all I can ask for in a comic book.