Thursday, September 04, 2008


You Need This - The Family Dynamic

I've been a fan of J. Torres for years. I followed him through creator-owned work like Siren, Monster Fighters, Inc., Allison Dare, Sidekicks, and the terrific short stories in Love in Tights. The last few years he's been doing stellar work on DC's all-ages books, an in particular on Teen Titans Go!, which given Georgia's obsession with the Teen Titans is a particular favorite around our house.

A couple of weeks ago, the first issue of Torres's new creator-owned book, which is also an all-ages DC title, oddly enough. It's called The Family Dynamic, and it's more fun than any comic I've come across in ages.

The "Family Dynamic" is a superhero team with elemental-based powers (fire, water, air, and earth), who get their powers from magical rings. Naturlally.

What makes the concept interesting, and distinguishes it from any other elemental-based superhero team, is that the characters really are a family, and more than that they are merely the latest generation of the family to put on the rings and go out to fight crime.

They aren't the only heroes in town, of course.

There is Defender, a Superman-type (refreshingly portrayed as African-American).

And there is the dark night duo of Blackbird and Little Wing.

And there are villains around, naturally, including the clown-faced Tragedy Ann and Tom Foolery (genius!).

The art chores are supplied by co-creator Tim Levins, who worked with Torres on the creator-owned urban fantasy series Siren years ago. Levins style has really developed in the years since, and is nicely evocative of Mike Wieringo without being the slightest bit derivative.

This is an all-ages book, but in the old sense of the term. It isn't a "kiddie book", but a comic that would as easily appeal to an eight year old as to a middle aged fanboy like me. And since it doesn't depend on any prior continuity, being set in it's own little world (namely, the fictional Canadian "Metropolis" of Storm City), even those who aren't regular superhero comic readers could easily pick it up and enjoy it.

Order numbers on the first issues were apparently too low, and DC reduced the series from six issues to three before the first issue hit the stands. I hold out hope, though, that sales are good enough of the three to maybe convince DC to green-light another mini-series, or to at least give it a nice digest collection with extra bits.

Unless you hate goodness or something, you should hie yourself to your local comic shop and pick up a copy of Family Dynamic #1 (and in a few weeks, go back for the second issue, and then the third). Heck, buy two copies, or three. It's only money, right?

I worked with J. Torres on Degrassi graphic novels. Super nice guy, and a great storyteller.

Chris, I've never seen anyone mention being a reader of Love in Tights before. I actually had a hand in a couple of issues and it was a lot of fun to be involved. I've lost touch with J. over the years (and it's been a long time since I've seen Time) but they are good guys.
Jen, I think I knew that about Torres and the Degrassi books at one point, but since forgot it. I think you and I talked about it a couple of years ago in San Diego while they were still being put together.
Well, it was a great book, Justin! I just came across my back issues of it the other day when I dug out my copies of Allison Dare to reread them, and spent a little time leafing through them. I think a lot of that stuff holds up quite nicely. I don't know that I've got a complete run of the series, though. Which issues were you involved in?
Chris, I wrote a story in the first issue that was plotted by J. and contibuted to a story in the fourth issue that was drawn by J. Bone.
Thanks so much for the kind words, Chris! I'm glad you enjoyed the issue and I'm really impressed by your resume. I'm a huge sci-fi fan (can't enough of Stephen Baxter at the moment), so I'll sure to track down some of your stuff. Thanks again, and I hope enjoy the next couple of issues!
Justin, I'll have to dig my back issues out and see if I've got those two!
I hope my stuff doesn't disappoint, Tim. And keep up the terrific work!
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