Review: Ace Hoyle


I am not a gambling man.* I know just enough about playing cards that I can make it through a game of Solitaire or Freecell on the computer now and then, and my parents once coached me through a game of cribbage without major injury, but I’m otherwise useless regarding anything at a casino that isn’t served at the buffet.

This makes it a little tricky to review The Adventures of Ace Hoyle, submitted by co-creator Phill Provance. Serving as the eye-catch for casino review site Ace Hoyle.com, Adventures tells the story of professional poker champion Ace Hoyle and the intrigue that goes on around the national poker championships. His paramour, Dolly Finegold, runs into troubles of her own. As you can see, the major figures in Ace Hoyle are named with all the subtle characterization of a Dickens novel or a summer blockbuster.

Ace Hoyle takes a lot of cues from old and new melodramas alike: in the less than 30 pages currently available, readers are treated to fisticuffs, more fisticuffs, temper flaring, and an explosion. Also a lot of poker is played, but the lingo is pretty much foreign to me. I get the feeling you’d need to be a poker player to understand what’s going on.

The artist, Thomas Batha, has a very busy art style. The line art is filled to capacity with detail, which might explain the muted color tone. Generally only one emphasized item getting colored while the rest of the comic is in black and white. Characters are just as melodramatic and exaggerated in depiction as they are in writing**; you can tell who the bad guy is pretty quickly (essentially, if you can see their teeth, they’re the bad guy—or at least off-putting).

In the end, if you’re partial to poker or crazy for craps, give Ace Hoyle a look-see. Otherwise, it’s going to be a very confusing walk down the casino aisle.

Comic Rating: An eight of clubs.

* Unless you count trying out new recipes.
** Personally, I think Dolly’s glasses manage to look better in the regular comic than in the promotional art.

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