Written by Darin Henry
Pencilled by Ron Frenz
Inked by Sal Buscema
Coloured by Glenn Whitmore
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
Since 1776, The Blue Baron has conquered alien invaders, maniacal mutants and super-powered psychopaths but will he be able to conquer -- 8th grade?! This a bodyswap comedy with super-powers that shows what happens when a 300 year old hero switches bodies with a 13 year old zero!
I kind of stumbled across this by accident and I am pretty happy I did. While I won’t hold it against Darin that he wrote for Seinfeld, hated that show and everything about it, and just judge him on this it is easy to see though where Sitcom-ics comes from heh cute play on words. While the Freaky Friday angle is cute we’ll see how things go with the characters and how the specific angle of the book.
I like the opening as it’s 1776 and we don’t an origin for this Blue Baron only that he fights the Redcoats, has a pretty good moral code and not mention a wide array of superpowers. He’s very much a Superman archetype though the costume makes me a little confused considering when it’s created and that there’s nothing covering the crotch area where as the cape with it’s tassels and the hat, the boots and the broach all have that feel of the past. Still it’s a great way to introduce us to the character.
The second introduction comes 242 years later and the most pathetic geek I’ve ever met and that is saying something with the crowd I knew in high school. I have to admit that the idea in how we see him and his friends introduce us to the Heroes Union well it’s cute and quirky. What we don’t get in either introduction is how The Blue Baron got his powers or why he’s in the future, is it time travel, immortality we don’t know and it’s a decent hook since after reading I do want to know the answers and that means I want to come back.
Actually the way the story is structured is really nice to see it has a pretty strong ebb & flow to it and the transitions between segments is good to see. Darin isn’t a stranger to episodic writing and that helps immensely here, as does the comedic timing that we see. For someone I’ve never heard of before he’s pretty darn talented and is able to take something tongue in cheek make a kind of sophisticated humour and entertain all at the same time.
I like the interiors here too I mean you’ve got two legends in the game in Ron and Sal who haven’t lost a step. The look and feel of the book is great there’s almost an all-ages feel that goes back to almost a Spider-Man kind of feel the linework and the attention to detail this brings back so many memories of how comics used to look and it’s freakin phenomenal to see here. The use of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show that masters eye for storytelling. The utilisation of backgrounds is extremely well done and much appreciated as they do expand the story.
Here’s what I know so far, this isn’t like Billy Batson, in some regard it is is very much Freaky Friday related as the school field trip takes an unexpected turn for Ernie. I love his grit and determination in wanting to prove himself here and how it all comes crashing down around him. With a great premise, base for the series, interesting characters with solid characterisation wrapped up in some great interior artwork.
A modern twist on a classic origin yeah this is what we need today, something familiar yet irreverent in it’s charm, humour and take.