Altered Boys volume 1: The Book of Billy – Michael J. Uhlman, Brian Wasiak, Jon C. Scheide

3 out of 5

Of the three writers’ credits on Altered Boys, none of them list comics as one of their first claims in their bios, but rather seem to lean toward Hollywood and film.  The structure of the book seems to support that: it’s written like a TV pilot; more storyboarded than comic scripted; giving us the hook up front – someone’s killing pedophile priests! – and then wrapping back around to introduce us to the main characters.

The hook works: it’s an evil we can easily jeer, and as the book gets deeper in to its 40+ page volume 1, showing us the killer, and giving us more background on the rhyme and reason, our trio of writers set up some pretty good lead-in padding for a first “season” of grindhouse killings and cat-and-mouse cop chases.  But this is a popcorn show: none of the dialogue cuts very deep, and the ‘direction’ from artist Robert Rath is pretty standard.  Our main characters, a whole bunch of lookalike white dudes who used to be alter boys, are lookalike white dudes with names like Billy who hardly stand out from one another, except, like, blond hair and black hair.  In other words: we’d be tuning to see how the hook evolves, and not for any promise emotionality or contemplation-worthy plotting.  That’s valid for a single issue, and if volume two were side by side, I’d give it a go, but Altered Boys – while a totally competent distraction – isn’t distinct enough to have me seek that second issue out.