EDISON REX vol.1: INTO THE WHITE

Monkeybrain Comics
IDW
Chris Roberson (Writer), Dennis Culver (Artist), Stephen Downer (Colorist) , and John J. Hill (Letterer)
June 2013

“What if?” stories have always been some of my favorite kinds of stories. In fact, Marvel had a long-running series called WHAT IF? that answered many of these questions. DC has done many of their own one-shot ELSEWORLDS stories that have become well known stories in their own right.

How about this for a “What If?” story: “What if Lex Luther killed Superman?”

Here’s a “What If?” that gets the fanboy blood pumping. Just think about it for a minute. Would Lex Luther move right into the White House? Would he ransack the Fortress of Solitude? Or would he just sit back and run things from the background? Just typing this out makes me smile, because now I gotta know! The question must have made noted author Chris Roberson grin, too, because with this simple scenario Roberson not only answers the question, but then goes on to launch an engaging new series that asks, “If the villain wins and kills the hero, will the villain remain a villain? Can a man change?”

To illustrate this scenario, Roberson introduces us to Valiant and his arch-nemesis Edison Rex. Valiant is the otherworldly hero who is the Earth’s sworn protector. No one listens when Edison Rex proclaims Valiant a threat to the Earth, so Edison Rex becomes the villain to Valiant’s hero. Until the faithful day when Edison Rex is proven right. With the perfect plot twist, Edison Rex finally defeats Valiant. It is so simple, and done so smoothly, that I had to turn back a page to make sure that I had read it correctly. So what does the super-villain do once he’s finally defeated the hero? He becomes the hero he always thought he should have been.

The pacing of these six issues is lightning-quick. While deconstructed storytelling has been the hallmark of modern comics for some time now, INTO THE WHITE charges headlong into the story. New and exciting characters are introduced on every other page. The Nuclear Norseman! The Gladiator Gladstone! Platypus Rex! Wait. Platypus Rex? YES. Platypus Rex.

With nods to both classic pulp elements as well as the Silver Age comic book stories that Roberson loves so much, and illustrated with a clean uncluttered style by Dennis Culver, these stories may at first glance appear to have a lighter touch. Look deeper. These are stories that can be enjoyed by all ages; those new to comics, and those that are old enough to recognize the deeper moral questions.

EDISON REX: INTO THE WHITE is published by IDW, with permission from Monkeybrain Comics. The book itself is printed on high quality paper-stock. With an intro by Kurt Busiek, as well as loads of extra features, it’s well worth the $19.99 price tag. Roberson and his wife (also editor) Allison Baker founded Monkeybrain almost a year ago as a digital only imprint. They have been earning almost constant rave reviews for the books in their stable.

Dan Malmon