I’ll admit, I was kind of looking forward to the first issue of The Bounce. Despite the vague description of issue 1, and the costume looking like some kind of cross between Ronin and Spider-Man, I was intrigued by the idea of a hero who finds motivation in superheroing, but the rest of the time doesn’t really do much.
Meet the ultimate slacker superhero for the 21st Century! Jasper Jenkins is a super-head AND a super-hero! He’s relatable AND reliable and he’s embarking on the adventure of a lifetime! The sensational debut of the new feel-good hero of the decade! You can’t afford to miss it!
Jasper Jenkins’ (The Bounce) has a power that is exactly what it sounds like. He bounces. The setting is something that’s clearly trying to appear like the ‘real world’. So we have a hero with an absurd power, in a contemporary, grounded setting. Nothing new to see here.
Jasper is a slacker and a stoner. That’s fine, there are plenty of examples in pop culture featuring stoner protagonists that are endearing and witty (see Harold and Kumar, Pineapple Express), or filled with dark comedy and social commentary (Clerks, The Big Lebowski). Sadly, The Bounce is neither of these.
It’s not hard for me to put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book. I really really wanted to, but I ended up quite intensely disliking it, and it had very little to do with the lack of real story, or even my inability to empathise with Jasper. I didn’t like The Bounce, because it’s trying too hard to be cool.
The book opens with three pages of Jasper, his roommate, and a bong. How original. The profanity is also an issue. While I’m not at all offended by it – that would be hypocritical – it’s incredibly tiresome. I get that this book is aiming for a certain market, but I’m scratching my head to figure out exactly what that is, considering I’m fairly certain that I fit into the demographic.
So the writing doesn’t have much going for it, it’s not that original, and it’s trying too hard, which is a shame because Joe Casey has done some great stuff in the past. What about the art?
Ehhhh… it’s okay. Again, nothing new to see here. The design is boring, and David Messina’s art, while technically good, isn’t anything special, and lacks any real sense of movement. I do enjoy his ability with perspective though, and the background cityscapes were probably what I found most interesting about the entire issue.
In summary, and in relation to the summary, The Bounce doesn’t really do what it says on the box. I didn’t find him relatable, I would actually rather he were unreliable, as that would probably make him more interesting, and I’m really confused as to how this book is supposed to be ‘feel good’. The only part of the summary I found to be accurate was the slacker bit.
All in all The Bounce gets a D-minus from me. Would not recommend. I was originally going to give #2 a go, just to see if it needs some time to find its feet, but you know what? I can’t be bothered.