Comic Review: Annual (Image Comics)

It’s a strange thing, Image “Annual”. It sells for $10 and is a bit disjointed. Well, it has lots of limbs, all connected with the name Joe Casey, and hobbles […]

It’s a strange thing, Image “Annual”. It sells for $10 and is a bit disjointed. Well, it has lots of limbs, all connected with the name Joe Casey, and hobbles along in a strange manner. Let me explain.

Annual consists of 132 pages of material, collected from various comics. All the material is written by Joe Casey. It consists of prose, articles, one-page comic strips, comic stories, and even an imaginative fictional account of a comic company from the 1960’s.

The high point for me is the Colonel Kane and Abel comic story, newly “restored and recolored”. This 8-page story is brilliantly written and illustrated (Wilfredo Torres) to resemble a 60’s comic, with good guys, a teenage sidekick, bad guys, a femme fatale, the usual conflicts, and some really thoughtful twists on the usual archetypes. For example, the wealthy millionaire hero’s face is badly scarred, excusing him from the usual leading man category…

Some of the other comic tales offer inventive storylines, such as ‘Winternational’, a thrilling tale of a man who has the power to freeze objects but is coerced into getting involved in international espionage. This one, illustrated by Luke Parker, is almost very good, but never slows down long enough to explain the reason why our hero does what he does, or why he is fighting fire-breathing robot dragons, for example. Somebody’s got to do it, I guess. James Bond meets Godzilla meets Humphrey Bogart.

Not completely convinced that this one is worth your $10, but there are a few entertaining stories in it, so maybe if it returns “Annually”, it will be packaged more cohesively next time.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!