Jim Lee’s C-23 #1-8
Created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi
Written by Jeff Mariotte
Art by Alexander Lozano
Published in 1998
I had high hopes for this series because it came from an imprint that I loved (WildC.A.T.s, Backlash, Stormwatch, The Authority, Gen13 are all nostalgia filled trips down memory lane for me) and covers by Ryan Benjamin that fit right in with those other books. What I didn’t know when starting the series though was that this series was created as a tie in for a card game. I’m usually not big on media tie in series, as they seem to restrict the creative freedom of the writers or don’t have any real stakes taking place.
Once I got into the inside of the book I was immediately disappointed by the artwork. Character anatomy is pretty much not in the realm of reality, but not even in the fun comic book way of 90’s image comics. Torsos are a cross between the typical steroid visions of that era, but also have an affected by toxic waste vibe where they flow into necks, legs or breasts in weird ways. It’s particularly apparent on the female characters (of which there are only two that have any speaking parts, both are wanting to have sex with the protagonist) who look way less humanoid than I’m sure was intended by the story.
Speaking of the story… there’s not much there. The entire plot of eight issues can be summed up as an elevator pitch or back of a book summary for basically any heroes journey. Two rival races are at war, and the only person who can win the war is the man born to both of them. His father was killed by the leader of the evil race, and now he’s the secret heir to the kingdom for the good guys. I was going to stretch it out another sentence but that pretty much sums up all eight issues.
The setting is a mix between Avatar and Cyberforce, with the good guys being the organic Navi-like race and the bad guys being the cybernetically enhanced humans. So little happens in this series that it’s inexplicable that one of the only things that happens in the story (a prison break) takes place in between issues. In addition to the cardboard hero (Corbin), there’s a bad guy (Hemlocke), Scarab (a jealous brother), and the two females (one from each race) who want to have sex with Corbin (whose names I have already forgot).
I’m trying to think of a redeeming quality about this series, but the bad art, cliche story and forgettable characters are leaving me drawing a blank.