Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Dolphin Squad - Heroes of the Sea" Review

Ladies, gentlemen and sexless sea anemonae today I enter dangerous waters. Today I encroach on Brad Dee's bizzaz. I'm going to review "Dolphin Squad - Heroes of the Sea", a graphic novel written and drawn by Danny J. Weston, and published by Deadstar Publishing.
From left: Lazer Eye, Fabian, Vinny
Introducing the Dolphin Squad is daunting to say the least. If you don't know who they are then what are you doing here!? Hand in your nerd card, and go find another social group, you freak. The comic opens with a retelling of the story of how their creator Alan Smithee came up with the idea after having been stranded on an island for 18 months, how grizzly and tragic death thrust his creations into the limelight, the 80's cartoon, iconic storylines like "Seath in the Pod", the live-action movie etc. Like I said recounting this stuff is somewhat unnecessary as most hardcore fans will already be familiar with it, but I suppose it is a nice feature for neophytes.



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So "Dolphin Squad - Heroes of the Sea" is a superhero comedy, It opens with a recounting of their fictitious and rather bizarre backstory, which is a genuinely hilarious parody of the grandiose manner some publishers and authors tend to retell the real world origins of their works.


The plot revolves around Doctor Herbert Helfert, an old enemy of Lazer Eyes', from back when he was still in the Navy, Helfert is using a video game (Dead Army, avaliable only avaliable on Innuendo Funboy) to brainwash gamers all over the world into destroying the Dolphin Squad. This leads to Lazer Eyes retelling his origin, which isn't as cool as Vinny's, as it turns out that Helfert isn't the only figure from his past who is out to destroy him.

To tell more would be to spoil the book. The plot is fairly standard superhero fare, but with comedic overtones. Outside of the main story the book also contains a couple of extra features, including a song, mock posters and the aforementioned retelling of their "creation". The jokes can be a bit tame and predictable at times, but sheer number of visual gags, clever puns, and satirical elements more than make up for it. Frankly this book is different from what I expected. I was expecting a abrasive black and white parody comic, like the ones that flooded the indy market in the mid-80's to early-90's, what I got was a good, all ages read, which was very remnicent of shows like the Powerpuff Girls or M for Monkey. The art is excellent, very crisp and energetic, if a bit lacking in detail, although it could be argued that this just enhances the saturday morning cartoon feel the book seems to be going for. Both the writing and the art is very focused and deliberate, and while the jokes aren't breaking any new ground, it shows a restraint and maturity that so many comedy books lack.

All in all, I would definitely recommend it for younger readers, or if you are an old or ancient reader who is craving a decent comedy book.

Deadstar Publishing's catalogue along with purchase information can be found here: http://www.deadstarpublishing.co.uk/ who were gracious enough to give us a review copy.


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