Burnouts (#1) – Dennis Culver

3 out of 5

An enjoyably breezy read, Burnouts #1 is, unfortunately, kind of the definition of a take-it-or-leave-it comic. The idea is instantly understandable without any further lore or plotting context – the stoners can see aliens! – and the characters are fun, but so generically defined (e.g. the dopey stoner; the tuff girl; the straight-laced kid) that I can’t say there’s much of a hook there. Dennis Culver drops us very smoothly into things: Andy, our straight-laced kid, is fed up with being straight-laced and decides to sneak out and party. He partakes in weed for the first time ever and it hits… and then he sees the aliens who are overtaking others’ bodies. Moments later, the local burnouts bust in to the party and start whack-a-mole-ing the possessed. Doth Andy join up with them and fight?

There’s a passing, one-line “only some people can see ’em” explanation to why the billions of weed-smokers out there aren’t seeing these aliens, and beyond the vague threat of body-snatchin’, the exact stakes of what’s going on aren’t delved in to – it’s just bad guys (aliens) vs. good guys (stoners).

Artist Geoffo’s style is very simplified, very cartoonish, but I think it’s the right fit. Character personalities are just archetypes, and so an artist that can capture such archetypes in a few swoops of the line is ideal. The cartoonishness also whittles the inherent kid-on-kid violence down to something more comical. The color flatting – Lauren Perry – is done well, as only a few spot colors are needed with Geoffo’s stuff, but it’s all very digital looking, like a webcomic.

If you gave me the rest of the Burnouts issues to read, I have no doubt I’d happily flip through them and be entertained. I happily flipped through this issue with that effect. But there’s nothing within the issue itself to necessarily encourage me to pursue the rest.