Aspen Comics’ “10 for 10” continues with the return of “Shrugged.” The series is about Theo a high school senior who has a very active and boisterous conscience. “Shrugged” #1, by writer Frank Mastromauro, artist Jonathan Marks and colorist Beth Sotelo, is built around both sides of Theo’s conscience, his good side the beautiful Ange and the bad side the demonic Dev. Both work to make sure Theo succeeds while having fun at the same time.
The “10 for 10” is the Aspen Comics celebration of ten years in publishing. The initiative will introduce five brand new series and five returning series from Aspen’s first ten years. All first issues in the “10 for 10” are only a dollar to get you hooked on these books.
Much of the story in “Shrugged #1” alludes to the first volume of the series and while the new first issue tries to catch you up there are a lot of assumptions made.
Mastromauro and Marks use three stunning two-page layouts to fill in some of the prior information on “Shrugged.” It is a storytelling device that shows you who Ange and Dev are and how they fit into Theo’s life. Some of the ideas speak to a bigger world such as a confrontation with the fiery haired Ember Silva. Not a lot is given about this conflict or if Theo was a participant in the fight.
Much of the story of “Shrugged” #1 is set at Theo’s first day of school. He is a regular high school student getting back into the swing of classes. His conscience provides the background on the friends he meets throughout the day and it seems like there is good opportunity for some character driven teen drama to be mixed into the series.
Leaving high school the story takes a sudden shift to a world of little demons running around. Who are they and how do they fit in? It begins a new mystery as a man referred to as “Your Majesty” is on the hunt for the aforementioned Ember Silva. It feels like much of the story happened before and builds on the previous volume of this series.
With a first issue in a line that is a big publishing initiative to bring in new readers this issue could have been more new reader friendly and focused on the main characters before bringing in a weirder cast of characters.
The artwork for the issue is beautiful. Marks designs the page layouts to read in a flowing manner as you read along the page. The characters each look distinct helping to tell a complete story.
Sotelo brings her typical A-game to the colors. Bright and energetic when they need to be they bring a lot of punch to Marks’ drawings. From the silhouettes that surround Ange and Dev to the complexion of Theo. The colors add depth to the story.
“Shrugged” #1 opens the doors to a bigger world. There are a lot of ideas in this first issue that on their own could fill an entire issue. As the series continues they are sure to even out but as the debut issue it feels like too much all at once. For a dollar it is worth a try as the series does have a lot of potential.
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To find out how you can get a copy of "Shrugged" #1 and all of the Aspen Comics "10 for 10" contact your local comic book retailer. Click here to use the Comic Shop Locator to find your nearest store.