Curse Words #1 Review

Posted January 18, 2017 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Charles Soule & Ryan Browne

Art by: Ryan Browne, Jordan Boyd, & Michael Parkinson

Publisher: Image

Oh man, a week with not one, but two, Image #1’s? I feel spoiled!

Or I would if Curse Words #1 lived up to its potential. I remember when I first got the press release announcing the book. I was so enthusiastic! I even read it on an episode of the Comics Dash. Early reviews started coming out, and my excitement continued to grow.

It’s entirely possible that I let myself get too excited. I expected the book to be an absurdist comedy in the vein of Ryan Browne’s God Hates Astronauts. Instead, the whole affair feels rather tame.

Mostly, it’s perfectly competent storytelling–on both the written and artistic fronts. Wizord has a turn super early on that doesn’t make much sense. It happens way too quickly, and before we really get to know the character. Other than that, though, it’s well written.

What it comes down to is that I didn’t find Wizord to be particularly compelling. I don’t know that I can really think of any adjectives to describe him. Coming out of a first issue, I should at least feel like the main character has character traits. Instead, he feels bland, and more than a little cliched.

Even worse, none of the jokes landed for me. The fake Twitter is cringey, and the mockery of the music business, outdated. Obviously, humor is subjective, and there are people who will find Curse Words funny. I, for one, did not. And considering that humor is one of the book’s major selling points, that cannot be a good sign.

The high point of Curse Words #1 is easily Ryan Browne’s art. He’s an incredible storyteller, and that shines through here. There are some awesome battle scenes, and panels where Wizord is working magic are simply gorgeous. The colors definitely have a lot to do with this, as they really make it all pop.

Browne also has a really good sense of mise-de-scene. Nearly every panel feels populated, and it’s fun to slow down and really look around. There are bits of world and narrative building peppered throughout the book. Subtle and difficult to notice, but Browne rewards paying attention.

Look, I don’t think that the debut issue of Curse Words is bad. The art is fantastic, and the story is competent enough. If the jokes land for you, you’ll probably like it a whole lot more than I did. But I just didn’t fall in love with it in the ways I was hoping to.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.