Book Retort: CHESS-MASTERS #1

“I’m professor Louis D. Tarrytown, aka the King!  We are from the 25th century–” explains the King at gunpoint, with arms held high, on page 6 of this wild (dare we say, insane,) action-adventure romp.

Bradley Golden (writer) along with Gary Louis McClendon (creator/writer,) Marcelo Salaza (artist/letterer,) and Geraldo Filho (colorist) join forces to deliver the goods in this thrilling debut. More than 250 exclamation points appear in this issue, including 21 exclamation points on just the first 2 pages alone. Has anyone alerted the Guinness Book of World Records about this yet? If a riot broke out at a karate tournament, it would be almost as action-packed as this tale is. Buckle up for safety!

It begins in New York City, present day. with no character development (aside from background information, appearing on the inside cover,) and then FRROOOSSHHH!! – a blast from the future, a rain storm, and away we go!  If more comic books began like this, hospitals would be overflowing from a sudden outbreak of reader whiplash.

Two characters are even named Captain Salazar and Major Filho.  There’s a fun wink-and-a-smile there, if we ever saw one.  And, what with this being New York City and all, there’s even a wild moment at the United Nations building (always a treat.) The real meat on this bone though, is the five protagonists: King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, and Rook. Learning of the special powers and talents that each protagonist has is all part of the fun. Some of the powers aren’t exactly explained, lending a mysterious (and rather enjoyable) atmosphere to the reading experience. Not much is revealed about the antagonists either, but that certainly doesn’t stop their relentless pursuit of the heroes.

You might be wondering, “What about Pawns? They’re chess pieces too.”  Well, don’t you worry about that.  The question gets answered quickly enough.  You’ll see.

Issue #1 of CHESS-MASTERS also features some of the most entertaining lettering that you’re likely to find in print anywhere.  Sound effects really spring to life here too, with enough CHUCKKs, THWOKs, CLICKs, CHUFFFs, and SLIICCEEEs to make your head spin round-and-round, in a good way.

Fast-paced and showing signs of great promise, CHESS-MASTERS is a worthy addition to every grown-up’s comic book collection. Following along with these characters will be a delight.

Dialogue Dandy:  “Kinda like slicing cake. Armor clad cake.” — Knight

Final score:  8/10

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