Totem ( Big City Comics / Kaufman / Gully )
“Ian Roberts is a 17 year old foster kid in NYC. He’s also the only thing standing between his mother and eternal damnation. With powers granted to him from the Totem, he has a choice. How he chooses to use the power will determine whether his mother’s soul rises or falls. Oh, yeah, he’s also failing Geometry.”
The people at Big City Comics are awesome human beings. They are in the comic book business for the fans and to make good stories. So when I got the first five issues of Totem I was pretty excited. The plan that ThePullbox Crew has come up with when we get two or more issues of a book was to read a few issued, then post a review, then read a few more and post another review. After reading the first who issues of Totem, I couldn’t bring myself to do a negative review the the cool guys at Big City. I decided I needed to save my opinion until I had read all five issues. I’m very glad I did! Totem started out very weak, but around issue three I found it’s footing and became compelling story that makes me want to read the next issue.
The weakness is not with the art. While the art is pretty good for a small press title, the writing just took some time to fall in line. Even at issue five the writing still has a few holes, but it is leaps and bounds better than the first issue. Each issue has been written by Jeff Kaufman so readers will get to see how his writing develops and grows with each issue. The problems are not with the overall story, or the dialog, but rather with the huge gaps in story that happen between panels. There were times I was reading and I thought for sure that I missed a page. It was like the story took these huge jumps and assumes the readers can fill in the blanks. While that is usually true, the jumps were just too big. We start the first issue with our hero being a child, then a middle schooler, then a high schooler who is being forced into a gang, then finally in the last pages he’s in a costume and has superpowers. Ba-wah!?!? As the issues progress we get more and more explanation until we finally get the entire picture.
The final verdict on Totem is that it is worth picking up, but you’re going to want more to read than just the first few issues. If Big City comes out with a trade, then it is totally worth it.
Grade: C+ (but improving)