Philosopher Rex Vol. 1 Review

Before anything, I would just like to say that the design of he title character, Philosopher Rex, is pretty damn good looking. It’s also very inviting.

http://www.arcana.com/images/covers/large/philosopher_rex_1.jpg

It’s a shame, then, that Philosopher Rex is not as satisfying to witness as a character as he is to look at. This premise should work. Ishmael Stone (cool name) is a Philosopher, a title we learn the importance of later on. What we do know at the start is that Stone and his team battle the supernatural. Stone has abilities, and so do the rest of his team. Martin Priest can influence people to do or believe anything he wants them to, just by saying it. Wilbur, who usually lightens the mood, has a bag full of magical tricks. I just wish that he had an electric razor to cut that awful facial hair. Jack is blind, but can “see” you coming with his ability to sense many things, including demons. Then there’s Amara.

Amara is Ishmael Stone’s daughter, and her origins are almost as mysterious as her father is. I’m interested in knowing more about her, but I’m not too interested in hearing her talk. She is this street wise west coast woman, but writing lines for a character like that is tough. In Philospher Rex, this character fails, at least somewhat. Amara is interesting asĀ  the daughter of separated parents; but as a hip-hop gangsta girl, she is reduced as something to groan at. When she’s not having a heart-to-heart with her dad, she’s coming off as a mish-mash of 90’s irrelevant slang. I’m just glad she doesn’t say “homie.”

Thankfully, Amara doesn’t show up all that much. We are introduced to her and the rest of the crew in “Another Devil in the Dark” when they visit a town in Virginia terrorized by demons. These issues have the second best artist of these six issues, penciler Geraldo Borges. Borges is probably #1 when it comes to effective action scenes. My favorite scene being Ismael sucker punching a slobbering demon right in the face. Good stuff!

The next story, “Availability Heuristic,” Has the Philospher Rex crew playing ghostbusters, as told from the perspective of the woman who goes to them for help. The art, this time done by Ricardo Soathman, isn’t bad, but it feels more suitable for a biographical or dramatic work, not an action piece. This story is the least appealing of the volume, but it does serve to add a little depth to Blind Jack’s character a little more.

The first Philosopher Rex trade couldn’t have ended any better. It’s Ismael Stone Vs. killer demon wolves and bloodthirsty children. In “The Fenris Condition,” Stone is basically by himself on this journey. Rick Silver is the penciler for this story, and the Miller brothers couldn’t ask for a more appropriate artist to work o this series. The art teams for the first and last stories work best with all the grotesque creations the Millers devise.

Volume 1 of Philosopher Rex is just OK to me. From the heroes to the villains to the stories, I had a good time with what Rex has to offer. The problem I come upon after reading it is whether I want to read more. While Ismael Stone is powerful and mysterious, I don’t feel a strong pull to his character. The details about this man’s life are more interesting than the man himself, and this is where my problem lies. Philosopher Rex Vol. 1 makes me curious about Vol 2., but I am not in an incredible rush to read more.

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