Kinetic #1

Written by Kelley Puckett
Art by Warren Pleece
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

Last month DC Comics released Hard Time #1, the first of their new “DC Focus” line, home to non-connected series about people in the real world gaining super powers. With Kinetic #1 being the second title out of the gate, Kelley Puckett and Warren Pleece are showing that perhaps they should have been the debut series.

Tom Morell is having a less than perfect time. It’s bad enough that it’s a new year at high school, but Tom’s got a number of physical ailments, including one that left him unable to use his right arm at all. If it isn’t mortifying enough to constantly depend on your mother for injections several times a day, Tom’s fallen head over heels for the new girl in school, someone who doesn’t know about his maladies. But even that won’t last forever…

First, the bad news. Puckett’s script for Kinetic #1 suffers from one of the same problems that Hard Time #1 did; a slow pace that in serialization has the potential to scare off new readers. Puckett takes a lot of time setting up the series here, and the end result is that not too much happens. The good news, on the other hand, is that Puckett handles the slower pace pretty well. By the end of Kinetic #1, you’ve got a real feel for Tom Morell and his situation, and actively want good things to happen to him. Puckett does a good job of bringing the traumas of high school in a realistic way, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve got no idea what will happen next. The first issue may spend a lot of time for setup, but I think it’s all going to pay off. I know I actively want to see the next issue.

Pleece’s art has always been up-and-down for me, but this is definitely on the up. Pleece draws Tom as a gangly, awkward young man and that’s the perfect visual depiction of how Puckett’s writing him. You can see the despair on his face as he continues on his day-to-day activities, the concern on his mother’s face, and the utter confusion that his new teacher is going through. It’s got a very smooth ink line, and I think it’s probably Pleece’s best work in comics to date. Aiding and abetting Pleece is Brian Haberlin, whose colors give a gentle, painted in watercolors look to the art. Haberlin chooses an interesting palette here, the reds and blues complementing and contrasting each other. It’s a very attractive final product, something which will hopefully appeal to both older and younger readers.

Kinetic #1 has restored a lot of my faith in the Focus line where Hard Time had removed it. Hopefully Kinetic will find the audience it deserves; Puckett may have made his name on Batgirl and Batman Adventures comics, but he and Pleece deserve to be known for their fine work here. Well done. Kinetic #1 goes on sale today.

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