Underground Film Journal

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Adrenaline #1

By Mike Everleth ⋅ September 25, 2006

Adrenaline #1

In the first issue of Adrenaline, writer/creator Tyler Chin-Tanner writes in an editorial about the comic book industry:

…doesn’t it seem odd that we use the term “mainstream” to refer to comics about men who wear underwear on the outsides of their pants? … Somewhere between the typical male power fantasy comics and the “slice of life” independents, there is a broader audience looking for new and exciting storylines to be told through the comic format.

While I can’t quite share in Tyler’s optimism that there is a “broader audience” for the types of comic stories he wants to tell, I do believe that there should be and it’s good to see that at least there’s somebody out there trying to supply, find and/or create it.

For the most part, Tyler achieves the goal he delineates in his editorial. Adrenaline doesn’t seem to fit into any sort of neat genre, which when I go to the comic store that’s mostly what I see: superheroes, horror, sci-fi, etc. Comics should try to branch out and appeal to all sorts of readers, particularly those craving the sort of sophisticated adventures, mysteries and thrillers that one can find either in novels or in films. However, while very appealing on the one hand, Adrenaline does fall into the same traps that other comics with high goals slip in to.

First thing to note is that while Tyler criticizes the idea of superhero costumes being considered the “mainstream” of comics, the characters in Adrenaline seem to be wearing costumes themselves rather than ordinary clothes. This ranges from a henchman wearing a traditional black trenchcoat even though the environment — the African desert — doesn’t call for one to the main character, female Dr. Saida Nri, wearing a “Lara Croft with long pants” outfit with a tight fitting shirt showing off her enormous breasts and a bright colored head amulet.

Just looking at the cover without really knowing what Adrenaline was all about, I immediately assumed it was going to be another superhero comic. The art by James Boyle and Fabio Redvio seems to be heavily influenced towards animation rather than the men’s adventure magazine art the story wants to suggest. But that’s not to be an insult towards Boyle and Redvio, who do a great job moving the story along with dramatically styled action sequences. Some of the talking head pages/panels could use a little jazzing up, but the action scenes are brisk and vibrant.

The story involves Dr. Saida Nri getting involved with a bratty media mogul’s heir booted out of the family business and looking for a way back in. The heir, Alex Lowder, needs a bit more depth and realism — he’s basically a cliche — to become interesting, but Dr. Nri is at least an intriguing main character to maintain interest in the story. To make a female African doctor the lead in an action comic is a bold move that pays off, which was a smart move rather than just creating her as a generic adventure-seeking woman ala Lara Croft.

Adrenaline #1 is the first issue in a projected 8 issue limited series that I assume will lead to a collected graphic novel that you can actually read in its entirety online at Tyler’s publishing company’s website, A Wave Blue World.