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Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #1 Review

Writers: Joshua Hale Fialkov, Tony Fleecs
Artist: Tony Fleecs
Publisher: Oni Press

In the first issue of Oni Press’ new Jeff Steinberg comic, the titular protagonist is an average Joe in every sense. He works at a video store, his girlfriend openly cheats on him, and the most exciting thing on his mind is a bet he recently made to see how long it takes him to take a dump. So when a group of idiotic, B-movie aliens select him to be Earth’s champion in a sort of intergalactic olympics contest, you can imagine the hysteria that erupts across the planet.

Based on that description, it should come as no surprise that Oni Press is the same publisher that brought us the beloved cult comic Scott Pilgrim, which was later adapted into the fan favorite film by Edgar Wright. Much like that series, Jeff Steinberg is a delightfully irreverent sci-fi comedy full of lovable characters and quippy dialogue. Creators Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs deliver a story full of intrigue, humor, action, absurdity, all of which are executed in a cinematic fashion. I especially like how they’re able to throw in a few real-world political jokes at the end, and in a way that doesn’t feel forced. The whole book flows great from panel to panel and scene to scene, with nothing feeling out of place or shoehorned in. Especially with the comedy, which is arguably the hardest genre to write within, it’s amazing how the jokes here really made me laugh.

Also, don’t be discouraged by the $4.99 price tag on this one, as the debut issue contains two full length chapters. Trust me when I say that you’re getting your money’s worth here. I’m a sucker for indie-style comedies, but it’s only every now and then that one really jumps out at me. With Jeff Steinberg, I had a blast reading and can’t wait for the next issue. Go ahead and pick it up at Ultimate and add it to your sub-list.

-KEVEN SCHEMER for Ultimate Comics