Sage is on a mission to uncover the truth about the Natura massacre, but she finds herself hounded by two Friendly Corp-hired bounty hunters, one of whom, Raamon, she recruits to her cause. Together they continue Sage's adventure while being pursued by the second bounty hunter. Meanwhile, a mysterious plot unfolds in the Cray family.
In issue #3, Simankowicz starts off with Sage and Raamon dealing with the slaver from whom they commandeered a freight ship full of orphaned children from another massacre. After that brief bump in the road, we learn a little bit more about how Friendly Corp had reprogrammed Sage into a killing machine. During her combat with Elvis Cray (the patriarch of the family), however, her inner monologue becomes clunky as she mentally commands her every movement as indicated by captions. Perhaps instead of telling us her process of fighting, Simankowicz could have shown us with his art in more than just five action panels.
Also, Elvis Cray comes off as a weaker character in his dialogue and mannerisms than he should be. He's the head of Friendly Corp and should act the part, instead of flat-out surrendering to Sage's terms after she kicks his guards' collective ass. Again, there's room for improvement in Simankowicz's character development and storytelling.
Simankowicz's art gets the job done, but not without a few flaws. For one, his characters aren't always drawn to match their ages. Sage is meant to be a teenager, but she clearly has the body and face of a woman in her twenties. The children's faces and bodies are disproportionate and aged, so that they often seem more like small adults than actual children. The range of emotions on each character's face doesn't vary enough to fit the situations they're placed in, and they repeatedly suffer from serious face syndrome.
Despite these flaws, I do see potential in Simankowicz's story. What he needs is an experienced comic book editor who can help him refine his writing and art. Right now, there's no editor credited in any of the three books, and it shows in his work that he's not receiving the constructive feedback that could make this series that much better.
I really don't want to come off as panning Simankowicz or his work. I, too, understand the enormity of the task he's set out to accomplish. I'm also a comic book writer trying to make a name for himself, and Simankowicz has beaten me to the punch by getting his work published. Good for him! I just want to see him grow into his own as a writer and artist. He has so much potential with his story and skills; he just needs to take a little more time to hone both and get a second pair of eyes to review his work before he publishes something that could be ten times better.
Gosh, screw me, right? Bring back the Brit! He's so much more fun. Hey, every rose has its prick, and sometimes that prick is there to remind us of reality. This prick just wants good comics from people with the talent and drive to make them, and if that means denying Sage Escape: Mars Gambit a place on the proverbial fridge, so be it. I hope Simankowicz reads my review, takes it into consideration, and improves his craft and art accordingly. Then I can place the next chapter in Sage Escape on the fridge.
Got a different opinion on the matter? Have a beef to settle with me? Or would you like to praise the book? I want to hear it all in the comments below. Also, check out Dan's reviews for both the first and second issues of Sage Escape: Mars Gambit.