From Monekybrain Comics, Edison Rex is a new ongoing comic that follows the efforts of the world’s smartest man, and former archenemy of its greatest hero, to replace his now absent foe and protect Earth from super villains, rather than be one. Issue one showed how Rex and his side-kick M’Ailizz finally defeated Valiant, the planet’s super-powered guardian, and issue two explores their initial attempts to adjust public perceptions of their now righteous actions, as Rex tackles former evil allies.
Whereas issue one had a serious, almost melancholy tone, this time round the core element of Edison Rex is humour, and it is richer for it. Having used identifiable comic standards, such as super scientist human versus alien hero sent from a dying world, but twisted them and configured a unique premise in the first issue, the second immediately throws you into the midst of Rex’s campaign to win over the hearts and minds of the people who currently fear him. With his first tangle with an evildoer resulting in claims he was the antagonist of the incident in unsympathetic media reports, Rex uses his substantial and unmatched intellect to concoct a fiendish scheme to turn around his negative public profile. This involves an adversary who is a delightful amalgamation of two well-known superheroes, demonstrating the fun nature of this second issue.
When compared to the necessarily expositional first issue the writing here is snappy and with the focus on our villain-turned-hero in action it allows for a different side of Rex to be seen. During issue one it felt slightly as if Rex was the secondary character in his own comic, with the limelight stolen by his enemy and all-round-good guy Valiant to a certain degree. However, here Rex’s interactions with his loyal, if now slightly confused minion M’Ailizz and those villainous individuals puzzled by his sudden change of heart go a long way towards rounding out Rex, giving a stronger sense of who he really is, what motivates him and how he might progress across the course of an ongoing series.
The art is impeccable and there is a wonderfully nostalgic, almost Silver Age feel to the designs and line work, although without the negative aspects of that can go along with nostalgia. Big and bold page layouts give space to the characters and setting, but are not overloaded with intricate details that would distract from the pacing of the story, and the visuals frame and illustrate the action of this issue with great skill and are perfectly in keeping with the tone of the story. The colouring adds a richness that is refreshing to see outside of a specifically all-ages focused book, evoking a cartoon-like vibe to proceedings, as well as giving the action in this issue a real energy.
And ‘energy’ is a key word that should be associated with Edison Rex. It would be fair to say that this comic is not the most convoluted or densely plotted out there, but it delivers an interesting twist on an established paradigm with whole-hearted commitment and a verve that puts other similar attempts to shame. With a compelling and carefully crafted overarching concept and hints at further development, but kept light and refreshing by the application of some brash action and a dose of smart wit, Edison Rex is a fun and rewarding read.
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