Comic Review: Dangerine #1 / Art: James Lawrence / Writer: James Lawrence / Publisher: Self Published / Release Date: Out Now (Available Here)
'Tough, pugnacious and hot-tempered' teenager Del Montgomery (Del Monte, geddit) is assaulted by a mad scientist while attempting to stop yobs from beating up a man in the street. When he wakes, he finds himself wearing a tangerine coloured superhero outfit and imbued with super powers. Dangerine is born.
With its colourful art and fruit themed superhero, Dangerine feels oddly like a strip from The Beano or Dandy. This is no bad thing, but there's a distinct lack of edge to the comic. Well, tangerines don't have edges. It is fast paced and strangely charming though. James Lawrence's cartoon artwork jumps out from the glossy A4 pages, making even the dialogue scenes seem fun and dynamic. It's easily read in one go and, despite feeling like the sort of thing you'd get given away free with a carton of orange juice (or used to advertise healthy eating) is likeable enough. Orange I glad I picked it up? Alas, Dangerine has a few too many disappointing pips buried amongst the otherwise tasty fruit.
Ultimately, it feels inconsequential and forgettable. The characters are sketchily written but come across as cliché - the henchmen have names like 'Pexo' and 'Flexo', while the Big Bad mad scientist Ezekiel Boom remains on the sidelines, no doubt saved for a future story arc. Which leaves Dangerine to fight a giant purple monster (coming out of nowhere) called 'Krudd'. Best friend Bob is little more than an exposition dump and Del Montgomery himself is an entirely forgettable character. The characters and story are second priority to the fruit jokes and art – while this is no bad thing, it gives the reader little reason to get invested in the story.
Otherwise, Dangerine is a nice change of pace from the glut of extreme and edgy superhero comics which currently populate the genre. It's nice to see someone realise that comics don't have to be all sweary and violent. Its attempt at all-ages fun is sweet and admirable.
Of all the comics on one's pull list, it's currently unlikely that Dangerine will make anyone's 5 a day. A second issue is promised (this time with aliens!), but unless James Lawrence can pull something spectacular out of the (netted fruit) bag, his creation is in danger(ine) of running out of juice. But as a funny, well-told tale about a superhero who looks like a Nectarine, Dangerine is still a lot of fun.