Without wishing to sound doomed in the first sentence, anthologies are tough to crack and usually take a few issues to get started. For Planet Jimbot’s latest, Amazing & Fantastic Tales #1, this most definitely the case. Within its pages are five stories that represent decent starts although requiring room to breathe.
Kroom! by Jim Alexander and Glenn B Fleming kicks us off in a hospital bed with a Batman ’66-esque lettering for its title, which brings forth the notion of multiple worlds and a taster of the world-hopping to come. This is an intriguing beginning as the interest comes from seeing how this well-worn notion of multi-dimensionalism can feel fresh and new, but this story stops almost as soon as it starts. At just 3 pages long, it is impressive that the characters are introduced and we’re beginning this adventure, however it aches for more time to expand.
Moving from hell into the Wild West, we get to know famous lawman, Wyett Earp (he’s not played by Kevin Costner this time) in another short story. The Last Posse by Jim Alexander tells of Earp as a family man arriving in a town where The Cisco Kid and Belle Star are living. Aspects of each of their characters are setup but not much more than this – an intriguing start, however nothing to shout about yet.
Moving into the strongest part of the anthology, Deadlines by Luke Cooper. We start back in the comic medium, over the falling shoulder of our heroine with extremely minimal artwork recounting a story of kiss-chase and how what is chasing her now is very different. The final panel of the first page has the title however the minimalism of the 3 antagonists and the backdrop of the Embankment tube stop speaks absolute volumes in terms of threat and location. We eventually get a decent hand-to-hand fistfight, however the rug gets pulled about the true antagonist that sets up an intriguing premise for the issues to come.
Overall, the comic does have promise. The following issues picking up the story strands will likely take them in new directions given the potential shown by the writers here. All of this comes with a huge ‘but’ - after all, it’s a tough sell to get people hooked from just one issue loaded with potential. It is also an extremely tough sell for a comic where half of it is pure prose. Having said that, Amazing & Fantastic Tales #1 is worth seeking out for the potential and Cooper’s Deadlines alone.