Phobos – Jason Brubaker

1 out of 5

Okay, read it out of curiosity.  When Jason Brubaker – he of the amazing Sithrah volumes and reMIND – was a youthy youth, he tossed his Image Comics love onto the page via the independent ‘Phobos,’ which is “about” a vampire, a mad scientist, a monster, and a werewolf hangin’ out and fighting janitors.  There ain’t nothing wrong with that premise in terms of enjoyable silliness, and this is where it’s fun to see an early attempt of a creator you enjoy and note the composition and writing skills were apparent in a proto form, but that also doesn’t retroactively make that early attempt good.  Phobos has the marks of an amateur: a wandering plot construction; poorly framed characters / dialogue, requiring wrapping word bubble tails and too many off-screen characters talking; and an excessive penciling style that’s more flash than substance, although this all does get significantly better in the parts of the book that would have been drawn later.

If there was any actual character development instead of Todd McFarlane panel pastiches and scenes that went further than stumbling into some slightly off-timed slapstick / punchline, the book may be more than a lark to read, but… you’re dealing with a then-teenaged creator’s mind, so, it is what it is.

That being said, I agree with Jason’s fore- and afterwords that there’s a spark of something here (again, you can see the formation of the dude’s talents), and I think it’s brave / awesome to put an inferior work out there for jerks like me to see and review.  Would Phobos, on its own, grab me?  Not really, and that’s what that rating reflects.  But I definitely think it’s a worthwhile purchase for Brubaker fans, getting to see a variation on the man’s current-day skills.