All in all, this issue does its job, but it’s so clunky and awkward. Johns needed to reel this back in a bit, and let the reader discover things for themselves.
This review of Geiger #1 contains some minor spoilers.
Geiger is a new creator-owned title from superstar creative team Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, however, this team have left the DC bullpen behind, to follow suit with a lot of other comics talent who have decided that owning their own properties may be more important than working for the big two.
Published by Image Comics, Geiger is a sci-fi superhero story and opens with two radiation suited men, discussing the backstory of the main character. This first page is pretty much an exposition dump, a trait I hate in comics, as it is pretty much a visual medium, it just seems lazy to have two characters telling the readers what is going on. In this first page, we hear about “breeding ground for all the nasties”, “nightcrawlers”, “the organ people”, “the one who walks outside without a suit”, “the unknown war”, “Joe Glow”, “the meltdown man”, it just goes on, and if this was a movie, you would be rolling your eyes at this obvious info dump. I think I may have expected more from Johns, and it doesn’t stop there.
Then we are treated to the blandest two-page spread ever, and we hear that it seems our protagonist, Tariq Geiger, did what he did for his family.
We then switch the scene to a flashback in Boulder City, Nevada, and an emergency broadcast has Tariq and his family racing for their bomb shelter. This looks inspired by an old Twilight Zone episode, as Tariq is shot by his neighbors who want to take his shelter for themselves. His family makes it to the shelter, the others don’t, and as the bomb goes off, everything apparently is destroyed.
Then we jump to 20 years later, and once again the characters here are just blah blah blahing to get us up to speed before we get another 2-page spread, that is once again quite uninspiring.
It’s here we get a superhero shot of Geiger, in his costume, who informs the men they are trespassing, and they note he has no suit on, just in case you missed it.
A fight ensues, we get a cool splash page of Geiger in full radioactive man glory, then after he has chased them off, he returns to his “bat cave” with his two-headed dog, where he moans about stuff, that reminded me of I Am Legend.
Then we seem to enter Game of Thrones territory, as we meet spoiled juvenile delinquent king, who announces he is coming after the glowing man.
The last page splash shows us that Las Vegas seems to be the main setting for this story, and it looks as if it’s still in good shape after the bomb has dropped. Once again, just in case we are too stupid to follow the book, there’s a map showing us the Vegas strip, the buildings that exist there, and paper clipped photographs of the characters that reside in the themed buildings, that we will no doubt meet in future issues.
Geiger #1 was a huge disappointment for me. The premise is fine, the art is fine, but Johns, for some reason, seems to think that his readers will have trouble piecing this world together for themselves, and instead decides to just tell us everything that is happening. On top of that, a lot of the plot points seem to resonate with other properties, and I know it’s hard to avoid, but here they are just so obvious.
John’s style of writing here is really annoying, the story isn’t that dense, this isn’t Watchmen, we can follow the plot fine, but the terrible dialogue and lack of heart will make this book a chore to read,
So much more could have been done without so much dialogue, and honestly, if there was minimal script this would have worked much better. Take out all the useless and pointless info dumps, let Frank do the work with his art, and there would be a more mature book here that doesn’t treat the readers like idiots.
If you have a copy of this book, look at it again but don’t read the speech bubbles and ask yourself if you can figure out what is happening without them.
All in all, this issue does its job, but it’s so clunky and awkward. Johns needed to reel this back in a bit, and let the reader discover things for themselves. The reveals would have been so much more dramatic if we weren’t told about them in boring conversations before we see them.
I might pick up issue #2 to see if things smooth out a bit, but even creative teams with the experience and expertise of Johns and Frank could do with an editor that might have sent this back to them for another draft, where this story was allowed to breathe and relax a bit, allowing the medium of comics to do what it does best, showing the reader the world instead of treating it as an audiobook.