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Remote #3: Quality Increase, Lettering Lacking

Written by Gavin D. on Wednesday, March 02 2016 and posted in Reviews

Remote #3: Quality Increase, Lettering Lacking

While the story and artwork improve, some basics of comics stay stagnant.

Three months ago I talked about how Remote #2 was better than Remote #1, but still not great. Well it appears that the upward trend continues as I can proudly declare Remote #3 to be fairly enjoyable. Last issue found Samantha in the radio station with zombies that for some reason seem to not be interested in doing their zombie thing of being a threat. There is nothing to be scared of in this book, but with nothing on the line, Remote #3 still finds ways to be enjoyable through gags.

Gabe Yocum takes over storytelling duties for the title, and the third issue feels more guided in its storytelling. The dialogue has more flavor than just Samantha talking to zombies. Though there is plenty of that, as our protagonist uses the undead to her benefit. The story expands upon the radio scene in our Pennsylvanian town. Turns out Samantha is competing with a stoner radio show and a hellfire and brimstone preacher, but these two cannot stop her secret weapon- vulgarity. Samantha begins to be more controversial with her broadcast, which is entertaining, but compared to the first issue, seems a little bit out of character. Still I'd much rather read this Samantha than the characterless one found in Remote #1.

The brief glimpses of other characters make me wish that the story would expand more to include them. Ed Grubler, the stations' owner, manipulates his DJ's into keeping their shows on the air despite the impending doom. The more we see of this man the more I want to know about him, but our story stays boxed inside of the radio station. Another issue of this and this will all feel like wasted paper. As it stands the radio station has been bearable for three issues, but going forward the story needs to move outward.

The biggest problem from this book, and all Double Take books, is finally explained thanks to an announcement in the middle of the book. These books contain stories from The Moth Project. It turns out that these stories are being inserted into characters' dialogue at random times, and it makes no sense. Why the hell does Ed Grubler keep telling the supermodels/prostitutes a story about a frozen pond? And why the hell has it taken him about 12 hours to tell this story? It is out of character. This is a dude who should be snorting coke out of a hooker's butthole, not reminiscing about ice skating. Perhaps the stories would work if they matched the characters, but at this time it just feels unnatural and forced.

The book contains some unique panel layouts that don't always pay off. Most specifically the final page, which is a two page splash... that is on it's side. So when you reach the final page you are required to turn the book on its side like you're some pre-pubescent boy examining the fold outs in their father's playboy collection. While I appreciate the experimentation, a some of these panel layouts, like the aforementioned sideways splash, take the reader out of the story, and never should have seen print. Other pages contain only two or three panels, which is not bad on the first read, but when you examine it the layouts just don't hold up. I don't know what scripting method Yocum uses so it is hard to tell if the blame falls on him, editorial, or artwork.

Young Heller returns on pencils, and he is allowed to utilize his style more fully. The characters seem more realized than before. This is due in part to the elimination of the crappy charcoal lines that were appearing in previous issues, and the facial expressions that he plays with. You can tell that Heller was given the time to illustrate the story how he felt it should be, instead of previous issues where things looked rushed and styled after other books. The art is at it's best of the series in this issue.

Brian Valenza takes the coloring duty for this one. The story scoots away from the hideous color palete set in place by the first issue. For example, the orange tinted walls of the station are avoided when Samantha goes to her boss's private office. This office is extravagant and unlike the rest of the station, complete with overhead aquarium. This allows Valenza to break out some lovely blues and greens. The cuts to Grubler truly shows Valenza's capabilities as he works some magic on light reflection.

Usually I would conclude a review there, but it is worth talking about the lettering here. The lettering in this book uses some truly atrocious techniques. Speech bubbles are linked together to help guide the reader along the path of speech, but the links really just separate the art and dialogue, guiding the reader's eyes away from the artwork. And then there's the font. For some reason the book uses a basic Times New Roman type font. This bland choice at times ruins the artistic values of lettering and removes the reader from the artwork.

The goofiness and sight gags of Remote #3 outweigh the flaws, but these flaws can wear in the long haul. Books four and five will define if the series is worth continuing: improve the lettering, ditch the Moth stories, and get Samantha out of the radio station. Remote #3 survives thanks to its light hearted nature, making it somewhat enjoyable.


Disclosure: Double Take is an advertising partner and friend of The Outhousers.
The reviewer has applied for employment with Double Take.



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About the Author - Gavin D.

Gavin Dillinger exists in a constant state of restlessness as he runs between two jobs and spends every spare moment writing articles or scripts. He has also perfected the art of being simultaneously dead tired and jacked on coffee, and is the best-selling author of When is the Right Age to Tell Your Highway It's Adopted. Gavin graduated Cum Laude from MTSU and should probably get a real job. You can follow him on Twitter or see a random thought on tumblr once every three five months.

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