We reviewed the book on the Stack podcast. But in the interest of highlighting more about the title, here’s a summary of the conversation with our thoughts. And if you prefer the longer audio version, that’s below as well!
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The Holy Roller #1 Advance Review:
In The Holy Roller, we meet Levi Coen (clearly Andy Samberg), a slacker called back to his hometown to visit his dying, formerly championship bowler dad (clearly played by Judd Hirsch). Once there, though, he ends up in a confrontation with some neo-Nazis.
Comparing it to the movie Walking Tall, host Alex Zalben noted that between Andy Samberg and Rick Remender there are expectations of humor and violence, respectively. So did it pay off?
“I think it delivers,” Pete LePage said. “There’s some real fun comedy bits here… It’s a very great team. It’s an all-star team working on this book. Art’s fantastic, story’s hilarious. This is gonna be a big comic.”
Justin Tyler agreed, adding, “It’s a great mix of Andy Samberg and Rick Remender. There’s a lot of comedy here.” However, he felt that the book really kicked into gear in the second half, when it got more violent. He also noted that the inclusion of a character who is clearly Judd Hirsch made him feel this is a movie script, not a comic.
“I always kind take exception to things that feel like ‘Oh, you wanted to pitch this as a movie and now you’re just doing it as a comic book’,” said Alex Zalben. “Mind you, [the] art’s great from Joe Trohman, there’s some great ultraviolence that happens… A little bit in the first half, but mostly in the second half of the book. So you get that Rick Remender flavor there.”
Zalben continued that if you’re a fan of Andy Samberg, “It’s packed to the gills with humor… There are jokes and some very silly, offhand stuff in the classic Lonely Island style.” That said, he found it frustrating to read something that he characterized as “the first part of a six-part movie script. I want to see how this is a comic, and how this works is a comic. I don’t necessarily need to see Jewish Walking Tall with bowling balls instead of a big baseball bat. So hopefully this establishes itself more as a comic in the second issue because right now it felt like the beginning of a screenplay to me.”
On a more positive note, Zalben did appreciate “the focus on Jewish characters… That was nice to see just in terms of representation. And it felt very authentic.”
The Holy Roller #1 Official Synopsis:
Everyone was sitting around wondering when comedy legend ANDY SAMBERG (SNL, Palm Springs) would join super-star writer RICK REMENDER (DEADLY CLASS, LOW) and Fall Out Boy’s multi-talented JOE TROHMAN to write a comic about a vigilante hero who smashes people’s faces with a bowling ball—and everyone’s dreams have come true! With art by the fan-favorite ROLAND BOSCHI (THE SCUMBAG, Wolverine)! To care for his ailing father, pro bowler Levi Coen is forced to quit his dream job and return to his hometown, which he soon discovers has been overrun by Neo-Nazis! With only his bowling ball collection to defend himself, Levi becomes THE HOLY ROLLER, a trick bowling ball-wielding Jewish superhero battling to liberate his home and bowl a perfect game against crime! Kingpin meets Inglourious Basterds meets Batman (that old chestnut) with equal parts action and humor in this special introductory issue with 42 full pages of story! Two issues for the price of one! Three writers for the price of one! Same great low price!