By Zack Quaintance — The solicit copy for this comic mentions crime syndicates and cyberpunk Las Vegas, before doing that new comic book formula thing and landing on Elmore Leonard novels with a touch of Blade Runner...which is all a means of saying that the preview peaked my interest in this book, even though I am admittedly unfamiliar with these creators. I will note, however, that AfterShock Comics has somewhat quietly been putting out very strong science fiction stories in a marketplace brimming with them (you’re all reading Relay, right?). But I digress.
Let’s get to the question of whether this comic is good! The dialogue is definitely strong, pithy and clever, fast. I’d wager Kindlon grew up reading or was heavily influenced by Brian Michael Bendis. His script here does a very Bendis thing, taking snippets of conversation, turns of phrases, and cadences one commonly hears somewhere mundane—riding public transit, at the next table in a coffee shop, in the breakroom at a job, etc.—and juxtaposing them with the fantastical sci-fi action comic books demand.
The result isn’t as honed as what you get from Bendis (that guy is the master of this), but it’s strong none the less, a solid tone-setting choice for a book that seems determined to be entertaining. Given his protagonist Renny’s genius-y skillset, the best description for how this comic reads is probably Bendis by way of Rick and Morty (or vice versa, I’m not entirely sure how that construction works), which I think is a more recognizable reference for its target audience than Elmore Leonard.
As for the art, Marco Ferrari’s linework and Patrizia Comino’s colors make a great team, especially in this comic’s many two-page spreads, whether they be of a heavily-detailed and intricate robotic workshop or a cave wall being used as a canvas with varied light on it that demands tricky bits of shading. Where the visuals really start to shine is in exploring the past, outside of the onenote desert setting. The art, really, is probably this book’s greatest strength, as impressive as it is.
That said, I think at times the wordiness of the script gets in the way of the plot and artwork, both of which I liked quite a bit. A little bit of editing could be helpful in drawing focus to the best jokes in here (which are quite good), allowing the strongest writing to shine. In the end, I think the art and ideas do enough to bring me back for a second issue.
Overall: Clever dialogue abounds in this one, which reads like a Brian Michael Bendis comic by way of Rick and Morty. The artwork, however, really stands out as the biggest reason to pay attention to this book. 7.0/10
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Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.