Reviews: Freshmen Volume 1

Published on November 23rd, 2010

Seth Green: actor, comedian, co-creator of Robot Chicken and also a comic book called Freshmen. If you missed out on this comic five years ago, there’s no need to fret because you can still pick this up as a Trade Paperback. And since it is a Trade Paperback and I just read it for the first time (thanks to fellow Comic Impact contributor, Ian (Candydish) Candish  I thought I would use it as the feature book for this week’s Trade Tuesday!

freshmenFreshmen oddly enough is about a group of freshmen who are forced to spend their first semester in a temporary housing unit located in the science building of their college. After being invited to a frat party where the group is humiliated by the older kids they return to their now ruined home where they are exposed to some sort of radiation after an experimental machine, called the “Ax-cell-erator” explodes. The twelve students and the school mascot (a beaver) are granted super-powers based on what they were thinking about when the machine exploded. Well except for Norrin, he left to get some pizza. For instance one guy who is a vegetarian was watering and talking to his plant when the accident happened, so he now has the super-ability to talk to plants. Awesome. Another student happened to be drunk at the time, so his super power is to make other people drunk when he is, by burping. It also works with being stoned.

When Norrin returns he uses his vast knowledge of comic books and super hero stuff in general to become the team’s leader. He designs super costumes and hero names for the team, and after Norrin and the Beaver (he can talk now) find out the source of the team’s powers they decide to help the scientist, Dr. Tomlinson, re-create the machine because he claims it can cure all diseases. So the Freshmen go out to get a generator for the Ax-cell-erator, but to do it they have to steal it from a Hospital. Realizing that the scientist is using them the Freshmen decide not to go through with it, but are then forced to face The Frat Guys, a group of… Frat Guys who were given Hulk-Like strength By Dr. Tomlinson. The Freshmen get their butts handed to them and one of them ends up in a coma. Later Norrin is captured by The Frat Guys and brought to Dr. Tomlinson who gives Norrin super powers to help him. The team confronts Norrin and Dr. Tomlinson when they’re about to dump a cancer-causing agent into the water supply. Norrin is convinced that he’s betrayed his entire belief system and turns against Dr. Tomlinson and becomes the Hero he wanted to be.

Overall I liked the premise of this book, but I think it didn’t balance the humor with the action as well as it could have. Out of the ten characters that get super-powers only a few of them have powers that are actually useful. For example, one of the characters, Post-It has a super-abilty to stick to things. They use him once in the book and it’s not very helpful. Another character is called Long Dong, his super power is a very large and indestructible penis, and I don’t recall them doing anything with that character’s powers. I agree that these powers are funny and everything, but it was like they put those characters in the book for a couple of jokes and then we were supposed to forget about them. I haven’t read volume 2 yet, and the fact that I still plan on reading it is proof that I didn’t find this book a waste of time, but I hope that the second volume expands on the characters and gives some of the extra guys a purpose. I will say that there’s some good writing for the main characters and the story itself isn’t bad, the art is pretty good too. They put some good extras in this book as well, it has a bonus story written by Hugh Sterbakov who wrote the actual comic, and it has a yearbook section that has a pin-up and biography for each character. Amazon sells the book for only $13.25 which is pretty good for six issues and the bonus material. If you’re looking for a fun read that’ll kill some time without you feeling like you wasted it, I would recommend this book. Not the best thing I’ve ever read, but definitely not the worst either.

Ken Zeider