Reviews of: Nerve Bomb #0 :: Rocket Rabbit #1 :: Reader Feedback :: The HATERS
Atomic Avenue Review by Jim Johnson (of Comic Buyers Guide)

Rocket Rabbit (Nerve Bomb, 2006)

One must give creator James Baker [credit] for trying. He's an impressive talent; he can tell an amusingly comical story. He can write mildly witty dialogue. He knows how to lay out a page and he draws with just the right amount of whimsy for the story he's trying to tell.

But his ideas? Well, did I mention he can draw? The book's title character might actually be a robot but, despite this, he comes across as a prototypical cutesy animal super-hero parody. His partner, who's also his inventor, is the usual hot, young chick in a tight uniform. And, of course, both work for a conglomerate that sponsors them: a story device that's been used a time or two over the years.

Baker's story is fun enough, but the lack of originality will put off most who've read comics for any time beyond the past decade. Newer readers who have neither been there nor done that will enjoy it most; ideally, though, it would be nice to see Baker apply his capable talents to a more creative endeavor.

The Washington Times "Zadzooks" by Joseph Szadkowski
May 31, 2003

Nerve Bomb Comix, No. 0 (Nerve Bomb Comics, $3.50).

One would think that 20-year animation veteran James Baker would be absolutely sure at this point in his career to protect his most valuable commodity, his artwork, by having its reproduction be a religious experience for the printer. Alas, the dark and often murky, black-and-white quarterly mess I have read does a major injustice to Mr. Bakers potential Mad-magazine, frenetic style.

The story of superheroes Rocket Rabbit and his leather-bound female cohort, the Professor, is surely a Tick homage with its layers of sarcasm and introduction of a zany cast of characters. I just wish I could have enjoyed the pictures without being reminded of the poorest-quality, alternative-press books available today.

Hey, Mr. Baker - get some pals together, digitally color the pages, spend some dough and you have a potential hit on your hands.

Movie Poop Shoot "Breakdowns" by Chris Allen
July 17, 2003

NERVE BOMB #0 by James S. Baker. Nerve Bomb Comics. $3.50

I'm all for a comics creator following his muse and telling whatever kind of story he wants to, but it has to be said that the superhero parody has been mined nearly as much as the straight superhero story, and one should enter this subgenre with caution and a helluva lot of talent and ideas. There's some drawing ability here, a style that would fit in a MAD MAGAZINE piece, reminding me a little of Al Jaffee with a lot more shadows. But there's little here in terms of story or characterization to make me want to continue.

Simply put, Rocket Rabbit, a childish robot whose thrust jets look a bit like floppy rabbit ears, and The Professor, the black leather-clad sidekick/mentor, work for a conglomeration of superheroes, but have only been getting the least desirable assignments, giant robots and the like. There's a corresponding consortium of supervillains planning some big power play as well. I'm not sure what Baker's vision is for the book, but at best it's cute, forgettable superhero fare, pretty much all-ages but for the oppressive dark tones. If it was funnier, I might want to stick around a while, but as it is I'd just suggest the author figure out how to make the book a more unique and entertaining experience.

the Fourth Rail "Two in One Review" by Don MacPherson and Randy Lander

Don and Randy stop by the city of San Fiasco to look in on its super-villains and super-heroes in Nerve Bomb.

Randy: Super-hero parody is not an untouched topic amongst the small press, and Nerve Bomb is another entry into that venerable slice of the genre.

Don: This black-and-white publication is a little wider than a standard comic book, but it's definitely in the right ball park. For a small-press effort, the productions values are high, the real questions are whether or not the book is (a) unique and (b) entertaining. I'd have to say "nay" on the former, and a qualified "yea" on the latter.

Nerve Bomb #0 written and illustrated by James S. Baker

Don: The city of San Fiasco cries out for protectors, and the odd superhuman agent known as Big Suit is in charge of hiring the right heroes for the job. When a plethora of super-villains meet to join forces and a giant grandmother runs amok the downtown core, he can think of no other duo better suited for the tasks at hand than... Rocket Rabbit and the Professor! Rocket Rabbit is a super-strong robotic hare whose ears are rocket engines, and the Professor is the buxom genius who created him and tends to his mechanical needs.

Randy: Whenever a creator decides to tackle comedy, especially super-hero parody, there's a risk of the jokes seeming stale, or at the very least like the same kind of thing we've seen before. That was kind of my reaction to Nerve Bomb, which gave me a few chuckles but which reads very much like every other super-hero parody book I've ever read.

Don: The easiest comparison here is to The Tick. Rocket Rabbit is powerful but also goofy, and the Professor is the voice of reason whose most noticeable attributes are far from intellectual ones. Baker isn't doing anything new at all here, but some of the hero and villain concepts he throws at the reader here are amusing, but only fleetingly so.

Randy: Baker spends a fair amount of time here on setting things up, and unfortunately doesn't really deliver any payoff. Much of the setup is actually just introducing a ton of characters with gag names, many of whom get taken down by the heroes a page or two after they get introduced. It's clear that Baker is having a lot of fun here, introducing some entertaining characters like Dick Pump and Silicon Valerie, porn stars turned cyber-villains, or the heroic Omar Sheriff, but there's no story to hang these characters on. Indeed, there's not much character to hang the book on, either... just cutesy names and visual designs.

Don: Baker's script is definitely lacking in focus. The opening sequence tells no story at all, and doesn't even touch upon the story's protagonists. It's a series of one-panel gags. The story really doesn't get underway until about halfway through the piece, and it makes for a scattered read. Baker puts joke-making before plotting, and it's too bad. Though familiar, he has the makings of a solid humor book here.

Randy: It is on the design side that Nerve Bomb shines, actually. Though the lower grade paper and greyscale printing often makes the book look a little cheap, and much of it printed too dark, Baker clearly has a great sense of design. I particularly enjoyed his straightforward designs for Rocket Rabbit and the Professor, the two main heroes of the story, although I have to credit him with a really fun idea in the giant robotic granny as well.

Don: Baker's visual style here is something of a mish-mash of influences. I definitely see a likeness to Jack (Mad) Davis's style at play here, but there's also a Phil (Girl Genius) Foglio vibe on the go as well. Baker has a flair for character design, as Randy notes, and he includes a couple of excellent, big-screen-scope scenes that show off a strong eye for perspective as well. I thought the rougher paper quality and heavy inks worked well with Baker's sketchy, raw style.

Randy: Nerve Bomb has clear, straightforward visual storytelling and Baker has plenty of fun ideas, but there's just not much substance to be found in this zero issue. Baker introduces about two dozen characters here, when he really only needs three or four, and beyond some mindless action and only mildly funny puns, the book doesn't really seem to have a direction.

Don: I have to agree, but I also have to give Baker credit for his unbridled creativity and the solid foundation he's established here for the property. He needs to rein in his storytelling, yes, but he shows promise as well.