Crowdfunding Review: “Inglorious Rex” (9 Lives Comics)

Today we’ll be reviewing the crowdfunded comic book campaign Inglorious Rex by 9 Lives Comics. For those of you not familiar with our review format, we grade a crowdfunding campaign on four distinct categories:

  • Book Content and Quality
  • Communication and Fulfillment
  • Packaging and Shipping
  • Stretch Goals and Bonuses

With Inglorious Rex, I backed the 2 Oars tier, which came with two variant covers of the main book and an exclusive B&W mini-print of the main cover. This campaign was exclusive to Indiegogo. Did 9 Lives publishing provide a knock-out of a book?  Read on to find out.

A look at the covers that came with the 2 Oars tier I backed.

Book Content and Quality

Inglorious Rex is a 68-page, full color, perfect-bound book, featuring 53 pages of story content, and 14 pages of bonus material (with one blank page break). It was written by Shane Davis and Yanzi Lin, penciled by Davis, inked by Lin, colored by Jason Wright, lettered by Eric Weathers, and edited by Amanda Lamela. 

Inglorious Rex tells the story of Alex Stone, a futuristic MMA fighter in a time where cage fighting is done through genetically manipulated clones, which are piloted by their human companions. Alex is haunted by the death of his brother, who died fighting in the ring. Now Alex wants to keep his brother’s memory alive by fighting while piloting his brother’s former Rex, 232, before it gets decommissioned. 

Main cover to Inglorious Rex by Shane Davis and Yanzi Lin

The plot of Inglorious Rex is a heavy blend of the movies Kickboxer and Real Steel. It was filled with the expected tropes, some of which can be considered cliché, and I found it overall to be quite predictable. On top of that, there was an overabundance of dialogue and narration that made the story more drawn out than it needed to be, and admittedly dull at times.

Even more disappointing was the heavy use of slang by one of the characters, who is known as “Lil’ T.” Here’s a quote from the book as spoken Lil’ T: “Come on, Alex. You know dat’s not how it works. Dey think Gunn dishonored da fight da way he ended your brother.” I’m guessing this character has trouble with the ”th” sound, but somehow can pronounce “think” properly, just not “they” or “that”. Of course, this pattern of speech is repeated throughout the book, it’s not just a one-off, or anything like that. 

Bluntly speaking, I struggled to find anything remarkably original about the plot or story, much less interesting. 

The art, on the other hand, was absolutely exquisite. This was a perfect mix between penciller, inker and colorist. It was immediately evident that this is a team that has worked together before, and hopefully will work together again. The panel-to-panel progression of the sequential art told the story clearly, which is another reason why the heavy dialogue was such a distraction.

There’s an old saying in writing, “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.” Inglorious Rex would have benefitted from taking some more time to condense the writing. 

An overabundance of dialogue made for a slow read.

The coloring and lettering of this book was solid. As far as the editing, I found no egregious errors or mistakes in reading this book. An editor’s job is more than just proofreading though. There needed to be an emphasis on trimming the extraneous dialogue and narrative.

Finally, we get to the quality of print of this book. Inglorious Rex was printed immaculately. I loved the binding, the page weight, and the cover stock. The title on the spine is a nice touch. My absolute favorite thing about Inglorious Rex is the art, followed by the print quality in a close second. Unfortunately, the plot was not to my liking, not necessarily because it was a bad story, just one that I’ve seen before.   

Grade: B-

Communication and Fulfillment

I pledged to this campaign in October 2021, and it delivered in October 2022, but I do want to point out that the campaign ended its live funding in November 2021. Basing the time-frame on the end of the live campaign, an 11-month turnaround time is slightly above average in normal circumstances. Considering the campaign took place during a period of supply-chain stress and massive inflation, this turnaround time was quite reasonable.

Shane Davis posted frequent updates to the campaign, and I always felt well-informed regarding the status of the book. Overall, I was quite pleased with the communication and fulfillment in the Inglorious Rex campaign.

Grade: B+

Packaging and Shipping

Davis let his backers know that books would be shipping soon in an update to the campaign. I was provided a tracking number when my items shipped, which I really appreciated. I paid $10 for shipping, and my books were sent via USPS Priority Mail in a Gemini mailer, packed within a Priority mail envelope! 

The box in a box technique made sure my items arrived in mint condition

My two copies of the book were stuffed into one bag and board, which I did not appreciate. Crowdfunded books are quite expensive, and each book deserves its own bag and board. The stretch goal items were bagged separately, except for the print, which was placed in front of one of the books within the overstuffed bag and board. My items did arrive in mint condition, but to preserve them as such I needed to supply my own bag and board for the second book. 

At $25 a piece, I expected each book to have its own bag and board. I was wrong.

I loved everything about this category with the exception of the single bag and board for two books. It’s a small nitpick but one that keeps this category from getting the highest possible grade. 

Grade: A

Stretch Goals and Bonuses

The Inglorious Rex campaign unlocked several stretch goals and included a bonus item as well, which was part of the tier I backed:

  • Nine trading cards, with one being lenticular
  • Three magnets
  • Two stickers
  • A black and white mini print of the main cover

There were plenty of stretch goal items, but they were all rather redundant. It would’ve been nice to see a better mix of items. A preview ash-can of book two, a post card, a mini sketch book. Too many of the same item type makes things a bit dull, in my opinion. The quality of the items was fine, but I honestly don’t need three magnets. 

A look at all of the stretch goals and bonus items that came with the tier I backed.

I do like the trading cards a lot, especially the lenticular one. They fit nicely on one trading card binder page.  Maybe that was the point to begin with? Some of the cards featured guest artwork, and it would have been nice if those artists were credited somewhere on the cards. Still, I was content with the bonus items provided in this campaign. 

Grade: B

It was fun to be part of a campaign that was such a massive success. The story itself isn’t something I particularly am fond of and I believe book one is where my adventures with Inglorious Rex will end. I am still glad that I own the book, though, and the trading cards and mini-print will be a nice addition to my collection. 

Overall Grade: B+

Thanks for reading!

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