Cadre #1 is a 52 page comic book from Nifty Games. This is the first in a new series of adventures featuring the Cadre, and is publishing bi-monthly. Cadre #1 was written by Mat Nastos (of Elfquest fame) with additional material by Jorge Vivoni. Artwork on the comic was done by Kenneth Rocafort and Mat Nastos. In this first issue of the new adventure series, the Cadre, a band of unlikely heroes, sets out saving Empire City from a monster known as Monolith. The issue is entitled 'Birth of a Dream'.
This first issue, Cadre #1, is an exciting super-hero romp that acts as an introduction to a group of unlikely heroes, the Cadre. The Cadre consists of six members - Basilisk (a controller of earth and stone), Rapture (with psionic abilities), White Dwarf (a powerful, flying and strong super-hero), Skyfire (uses the power of lightning), Thunderbolt (the living avatar of thunder) and Lamprey (a hero who can steal energies from living creatures). In this issue the six heroes band together after an incident at the sacred ground to a native tribe leads to the unleashing of a power the world hasn't seen in quite some time. In a series of fantastic and epic battle exchanges between the six heroes and the monolith, a new band of heroes is born, all under the eye of a sinister, yet presently unknown, entity that watches them from afar.
As far as the storyline goes, I was suitably impressed. It's a good blend of initial character development with background details of their lives and Empire City, with high-paced action and a manic frenzy of mayhem and destruction. The story leaves enough unanswered questions as to the next events, reveals some truths about the characters that serve as an introduction to them, and acts as a tantalizing introduction to an interesting group of heroes. Having read through the comic book, there's enough to pique your interest and get you hooked on the Cadre. In a way I'm glad that Nifty Comics also has another comic released that serves as an introduction to these heroes, and hopefully answers some more questions as to their origin and backstory. This is not just another bunch of superheroes that fight against big, bad, evil guys - here is a more interesting backstory in which the heroes can get involved in. Add to this the creative writing and humorous lines, and you have the making of a good comic book.
The characters themselves, in the brief pages of this comic book, show some interesting areas of development. Their abilities too are interesting, and while the initial blurbs regarding their powers give some idea as to what they can do, it's interesting seeing the interpretation of these abilities in the comic book. The powers are certainly not one dimensional, although one can imagine that the complexity of their abilities may make them characters that are hard to identify with. Many of the more popular superheroes of today can readily be identified by their abilities - in the case of the Cadre, one can't be so sure, although perhaps it's too early to tell after one comic book. Most of the comic left me wondering about the nature of these superheroes and how they came by their abilities. It's clear many are reluctant to enter the 'superhero' world and that in a sense makes them more believable characters.
The artwork is very good throughout, particular the full-color cover, although given the lack of greyscale in the art, a panel can sometimes become very crowded with lines making it difficult to discern the details. For the most part though, the art and expressions of the characters provide enough emotive response to get a feel for the experiences of the characters in the story. The background details of the climatic scenes are quite spectacular, particularly during the lengthy battle with the giant monolith which gives the battle an epic feel. Who's going to pay for damage control certainly crossed my mind.
So, what can one say about Cadre #1? In a few words - exciting, epic, believable, fantastic. On the flip side of things, there was very little about the origin of these heroes or how they came to be who they are. This can make it hard to identify with the characters while reading through the comic book (particularly if you're not familiar with the exploits of the Cadre over the past twelve years). Despite these areas that left me wondering, this is an action-packed comic strip with good writing and humor, good art, characters with room to develop, and interesting story lines that aren't predictable. I guess all one can say is that I hope this comic strip is here to stay.