‘Dudley Datson And The Forever Machine’ #1 Is An Unashamedly Fun All-Ages Romp
by Olly MacNamee
Dudley Datson is a boy genius. Even if he doesn’t think this of himself yet. And like many a teenage hero before him, his life ain’t smooth. A carefree, joyful comic book juts like they used to make when we were kids! But with pets.
For Scott Snyder’s third new title debuting today on comiXology Originals, he teams up with Jamal Igle’s to bring readers an all-ages read with one foot entrenched every much so in the tradition of teenage heroes like Spider-Man or Ms Marvel. Even the comic’s title, Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine sounds like a rip-roaring yarn ripped for YA readers, but with plenty for others too. After all, when our eponymous hero, Dudley, finds himself onstage but-naked, I fear it is something we have all dreamt about. It’s totally relatable. Although how he winds up in this compromising position is something you’ll have to read the debut issue to discover. But given Dudley is a child genius, it does involve science and experimentation. And pets. Pets, we are reliably informed, will play a big part in this series.
As with his work on The Wrong Earth, Igle’s artwork (given added texture and detail by inker Juan Castro) is a delightful fit for this kind of innocent superhero story. A style that captures the vibrancy and emotive energy of comic book we all grew up on. With, of course, an eye for the contemporary in the design of each character. Although as a teacher myself I doubt I’ll even look as hip as Doctor Shae. One of several supporting characters we are introduced to that help quickly establish the world around Dudley and his scientific credentials as one of America’s bright young minds. Even if he doesn’t see it that way. But, hey, ego is never a good look on teen heroes in the making, while self-doubt has always been a good starting point. And while the set-up of Datson in this first issue seems somewhat conventional in its portrayal of the would-be teen hero this is a minor quibble in such as carefree comic.
With the main characters and their relationships introduced as well as the stirrings of a nemesis, Snyder and Igle’s are careful not too reveal too much. Just enough. It’s a breezy, light-hearted comic ideal for summer holidays and makes no excuses for being simply a good funny book. The vibrant colours provided by Chris Sotomayor further help sell this as a series that doesn’t take itself too seriously. A fun read with fun, expressive art and characters that fizzes at the seams. I may not be its intended demographic but I sure had fun reading it as did my inner teenage self.
Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine #1 is out now on comiXology.