Lastikman gets a bashing.
I just got a copy of Mars Ravelo's Lastikman, read through it, looked at the pages. As I've heard from early reviews and comments, the art, by Arnold Arre (Mythology Class, After Eden) is excellent, and as always has that 'Arre' look which I particularly like. The colors, on the other hand, while quite good, give me an impression of being muddy and subdued- I don't know if it's because of the palette used or the printing, but overall it seems a bit off-tuned to the supposedly comedic and lively tone of the title. Perhaps brighter colors would have been better? As it is, the book evokes to me that it is the comic adaptation of the Film Festival movie, which it is NOT, fortunately.
The story, by Gerry Alanguilan, does a good job of introducing the character of a stretchy alien coming to Earth and becoming a crime fighter, though perhaps the word of it being a wacky tale of comedy made me expect too much. In truth, the comic overall isn't laugh out loud funny, despite Arnold's portrayals of Lastikman's wilder contortions. Secondly, I found several scenes depending too much on narration, taking away from the character story. I also found the use of english and tagalog a bit jarring- it worked as a comedic vehicle in Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, but seeing it used here just made the Filipino language look like inferior speech- something I am sure is not the intention, but in the end, whenever english is used it is spoken by a scientist or an alien. Maybe I am reading too much into it. Oh well.
Anyway, it really didn't help that I don't like the character at all. Never liked stretchy characters, don't like the shades for eyes (not even the art could make him likeable for me). No, Lastikman will always be that creepy character in the old tagalog movies that freaked me out when I was a kid- not scared, mind you- just freaked. He's just too weird. So I don't like the character. Don't like how he's an alien. Don't like his look. Don't like how he's such a WUSS in the comic and everyone else has to come to his aid- having the masa rise up towards the end and come to the aid of the hero is getting old. I hated that kind of scene in the first Spiderman movie, hate it here. Sigh.
The best thing in the comic for me is Atomika, an original character created for the comic by Gerry and Arnold. Unfortunately, she really shouldn't have had the clout she has in this book. That she has two pinups dedicated to her just shows where Gerry and Arnold's love in this work really went. Heh.
All things said and done, Lastikman is still a fine comic in terms of production. The art is great, the story good, the colors are nicely done and it's a one-shot and long enough to be worth 150 pesos. I just don't like it. Give me an Atomika comic and I'll take that over this anytime. So, Gerry and Arnold, hop to it!
Mars Ravelo's Lastikman from Mango Comics is available in bookstores and comic stores all over the Metro now. Go get it!