COMIC REVIEW: The Bounce #1

The_Bounce_1The reinvention of the superhero is almost as common the classic superhero in today’s comic marketplace. Joe Casey and David Messina have thrown their hat in the ring with issue #1 of The Bounce. Not only a reinvention, but an idea which rivals titles such as Young Avengers, the Luther Strode comics, Runaways, Invincible and even various Spider-Man titles. You see, the Bounce is a young adult coming to terms with adulthood and being a superhero. Casey’s USP? Drugs. Not just drugs as the motivation of the bad guys, but a seemingly key plotline and main hobby of the good guys too.

Jasper Jenkins is the Bounce. He is a drugged-up slacker. Nice idea. His superpower is, well, to bounce. We first meet Jasper with his flat-share, taking hits from a bong. On the TV, there’s a report that the police chief has been taken hostage in his own home. Jasper disappears. At the siege, a masked bad guy who calls himself the Crunch (his arms are thicker than his legs), is looking for a new nemesis. Conveniently, Jasper, clad in a black and yellow spandex number, bounces into the house. There’s a fight with some post-modernesque witty banter before the Crunch flees, leaving the Bounce explaining his presence to the cops. The story moves on to feature pill-popping police and an odd encounter with the military and a lizard. So, we now have a shadowy organisation who are building some kind of world-dominating doodad which I’m sure we’ll see more of in future issues. And then we have another character introducing himself as the Fog, who claims to literally be ‘the drug’. Jasper doesn’t quite know what is going on, and by the end of issue #1, neither does this reader.

I would assume that might be the point. Jasper is struggling to cope with the transition from being a teenager to an adult. Decent theme, one most people can relate to. How he interacts and reacts to the bad guys will surely become clearer in forthcoming issues, but in issue #1, so much is thrown at the canvas I was left a little cold. Casey has contributed to some top titles in the past, including Uncanny X-Men, Hulk, Iron Man, Superman, Wildcats and perhaps most importantly, Spider-Man. He clearly has the knowledge and experience to make The Bounce work. His plotting is a little hurried, but the dialogue is spot on. Italian Messina’s art is great. He has the tone and colour spot on. The characters all look good and although there is nothing particularly that stands out or is original, it fits the story well. The Crunch’s arms look ludicrous, but that is probably by design, with maybe a little tongue in cheek.

I was quite excited by The Bounce but unfortunately I was left wanting by issue #1. There is great potential with the story of Jasper Jenkins (and I appreciate with a smile the fact the experienced Casey has given him an alliterative name) once more of the subtext is revealed and the characters become more rounded. I hope the story slows down a little and spends time looking at what’s like to be both a twenty-something and a superhero. Credit where it’s due, however, I do want to read more, which is what you want from a debut issue.

Rating: 3.5/5
Reporter: Ian J Simpson

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