Brass is a six-issue WildStorm miniseries from the early 2000s. John Arcudi wrote it and Carlos D’Anda drew it. Each issue has a cover price of $2.50.
|The cover to the second issue. I think there's too much going on there. The design is too cluttered.|
Sadly, I couldn’t find the first issue of this in the quarter bin. I’ve had some experiences before where I scored an entire six-issue miniseries from a quarter bin, and it’s hard to match the elation I feel knowing that I spent a buck fifty on a complete series when the trade paperback itself likely costs at least ten times as much. Yup… I’m addicted to cheap comics. It almost doesn’t matter what the series is, but if I can find a decent chunk of a run of something in the quarter boxes, I’m probably gonna pounce on that.
Which is pretty much why I took a chance on these issues of Brass. I guess Brass was some early ‘90s Image superhero crap that was unreadable in its original incarnation. Brass is this dude who was infected with (or maybe injected with, via a government experiment) a techno-virus from another planet in another dimension. The virus makes the dude, Herschel, transform into this mecha warrior techno-knight. D’Anda’s art on this miniseries still has a lot of that Image sensibility, but at least Arcudi’s writing is decent.
Even though I started reading with issue 2, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything crucial. The premise of this miniseries is that the alternate dimension aliens whose world was the origin of Hershel’s Brass virus need to infect themselves with it (it had previously been eradicated) so they could fight a war against some enemies who had been ravaging their world. They kidnap Herschel so they can get the virus. The catch is that the aliens are all cultural pacifists, and even after a small group of volunteers gets the Brass virus, they still have no idea how to wage war to defend their loved ones. Thus, Herschel has to stay in their dimension to train his small group of Brass warriors and lead them to victory.
What makes this readable is that Arcudi writes the whole thing with a tongue-in-cheek tone. There’s some light humor in all the proceedings, and that somehow tempers the scenes that are meant to be more emotional as well as the scenes that are balls-out action. The dialogue is brisk, there isn’t a whole lot of text to bog it all down, and it’s paced well. Best of all, Arcudi doesn’t end it after the aliens defeat their enemies; that’s almost beside the point. The latter part of the story is more about how the volunteer Brass aliens have been corrupted by their newfound bloodlust.
Arcudi never probes too deeply into this, but it’s still entertaining nonetheless. The weakest part of this comic is definitely the art. Like I said, D’Anda’s art in this definitely has a big Image influence. There’s a lot of unnecessary hashmarks on his drawings that add nothing. His panels tend to be cluttered and a lot of his pages would be challenging to decipher if the words weren’t on the page. His figures are also unattractive, especially their anatomy. His characters also have weak facial expressions and there’s no real understanding of body language in Brass. On the upside, I kinda liked the mecha designs of some of his Brass soldiers.
Ultimately, I got a kick out of this series even though it had pretty weak art. It was a great comic to read on the toilet—it wasn’t too deep or anything, so I didn’t really have to think, and there weren’t a whole lot of words (and the art wasn’t worth lingering over) so reading an issue was about the right length of time. I wouldn’t say this series is worth going out of your way to seek out, unless you happen to be a big Arcudi fan. For what it’s worth, a quarter a pop was definitely a feel-good price for these issues.