Writer: Darin Henry
Artists: Ron Frenz, Glenn Whitmore
I PERMANENTLY CHANGED BODIES for this one. Now I am tall, dark, and handsome, no wait, that was me before. Now I am a dumb teen too cool for school, with a pimply face and gangly limbs that the artists airbrushed over to make me look better than I am.
I was lured into the third issue of THE BLUE BARON binge book by the banner “Triple the pages! Triple the thrills!” looking like a stupid TV sitcom come to life on paper, and managed to zoom in without a hitch after seeing the plot succinctly summarized on the inside cover: “The story of a 300 year old hero … who’s permanently switched bodies with a 13 year old zero.” Which one is me again?
It must be a parody, I decided, like come on, this is too familiar. Yet it’s not, it’s just a straight-ahead rollickin’ good story always pushing clichés to the max, like the evil transformation of a professor into someone who wants to inflict massive pain on the whole world for some ultimately rational reason, or maybe because it’s fun; and one goes along with it, which is the most interesting part.
Where does this fascination come from? Black white black white you me you me periphery core always flickering is something we can talk about later with other evildoers. Here we have to focus on the kid whose body and mind are disconnected, not to mention our hero the Blue Baron animating the kid’s body and obviously too big for his new surroundings.
Ultimately, and not yet in this issue apparently, but brewing, we are going to see how the zero turns into a hero, eventually maybe with some decent help and possibly therapy, and years of physical training and mental discipline. Usually these punks turn into amazing characters just like that, Look ma, I’m a ninja soldier avatar too cool for you. Not here. This guy really pushes useless into a way of life.
And there is the appeal. He looks like a hero, inside a zero. The kid in the Blue Baron body wavers, can I do this? Can he pump himself up to act? This is the dilemma.
The pencils and inks by Ron Frenz and Glenn Whitmore are completely clean and smooth like a newly waxed floor, yet never evoke reality, more like entering a television drama about reality as the sponsors want it to be. It works. The story part by Darin Henry ripples through unending stereotypical scenes of drama and pumped-up team spirit resembling high-school sports rah rah when no one in the bleachers can resist being swept up. A lot of it is actually too cool.
Interior interdimensional interludes intercede incessantly, inspiring some of the best plot lines. I may have to get the next triple-size binge book to see how the kid turns out coming of age, if he does, in terms of power and responsibility, yada yada, and keeping promises. Honor is the first thing to expect of a hero. Which reminds me of the other guy, the switched Blue Baron, who is probably right now searching a local drug store for acne medicine, realizing his new teen self is going be a whole new kind of super challenge.