Creed: The Next Round #1
- Latoya Morgan, Jai Jamison
- Wilton Santos
- AndWorld Design
- Cover Artist:
- Mateus Manhanini
- BOOM! Studios
- Release Date:
- DJ Chavis
For all intents and purposes, Creed III provided the last hurrah for Adonis "Donnie" Creed. However, the Creed films are all about legacy, and the story continues in BOOM! Studios' Creed: The Next Round #1. Written by LaToya Morgan and Jai Jamison, drawn by Wilton Santos, colored by DJ Chavis, and lettered by AndWorld Design, the first part of this four-issue miniseries is the next chapter for the Creed family.
Set a decade after the events of Creed III, Creed: The Next Round #1 follows Donnie and Bianca's daughter, Amara, who is becoming a fearsome boxer much like her father and grandfather. She knocks out every opponent and craves a new challenge, as the genes of greatness course through her blood. As a retired fighter, Donnie is apprehensive of her moving too fast and tries to cool her desire to step up to the next level. However, Amara takes matters into her own hands by diving into the world of underground fighting.
Morgan and Jamison capture the tone of the film series in this continuation. The same themes of overcoming adversity and fighting as an underdog are present here, as the story shifts to Amara and her journey to glory. However, Donnie hasn't suddenly evolved into a carbon copy of his mentor, Rocky Balboa. He's still the same guy from the Creed movies, but this is the natural evolution of him maturing and trying to prevent his daughter from making the same mistakes he did in the past.
That being said, Creed: The Next Round #1 isn't exactly reinventing the narrative mechanics of the series. The writers play it safe, choosing to go down the tried-and-tested route and giving Amara the same type of arc as her father and Rocky too. It would have been nice to see this series commit to more risk here, but it is still early days and the further issues may surprise the readers.
From an art perspective, Santos also delivers in conveying the same attitude as the movies. The artist draws a fantastic rendition of Donnie, who looks exactly like actor Michael B. Jordan in the book. However, his wife, Bianca, doesn't bear much resemblance to actor Tessa Thompson. The likely reason for this change is that Thompson's likeness hasn't been licensed for use here, while Jordan is involved as a creative director in the comic, so he probably gave the go-ahead to feature his likeness. Nonetheless, this doesn't take away from the overall quality of the slick art, as both the action and quiet moments are gorgeous to behold.
Chavis adds a lively splash of color to the series. The panels are well lit and bright, as the colorist infuses an array of energetic shades to match the fiery spirit of the story. Despite the action on display, AndWorld Design lets the movement of the art accentuate the fights, while the letterer focuses on amplifying the crowd's reactions -- and it works.
Creed: The Next Round #1 does its job in honoring the source material. It never feels off brand or like a cheap knockoff of the movies. While it may not step out of the comfort zone of its storytelling, the series is sure to be a delight for fans of the Creed and Rocky films.