By d. emerson eddy — Collapser #1 is the second of a new wave of comics from DC's Young Animal, presenting more weird and unique approaches to superheroes. The series introduces us to Liam James, a young man going through a kind of coming-of-age as he tries to find himself, caught between working as a retirement home attendant and a late night DJ trying to make it big. The plot begins when Liam stumbles into weirdness inherited from his mother. It appears to be removed from the standard DC Universe, but there's still a lot to be revealed in this series.
The first thing that stood out and drew me in was the narration. Particularly what appears to be Liam's internal thoughts. They're presented visually by Simon Bowland's lettering in an unconventional fashion. Instead of a typical dialogue box, they're amorphous blue and purple blobs with white letters. At once, they give it a different feel from the rest of the dialogue, presenting his anxiety in a fascinating way, while also giving you the slight impression that his thoughts are almost third-party. As an almost intrusive narration, they excellently depict some of the strange and alien thoughts that sufferers of anxiety and some other mental illnesses experience.
The internal narration also leads to an incredibly dense read from the writing team of Mikey Way and Shaun Simon. There are layers between Liam's thoughts, the dialogue, and action that nicely give context and commentary on Liam's life and allow for some moments of levity, even when at times you could consider Liam's actions insufferable. It's interesting how his anxiety can pull him back to being a better person. I'm somewhat amazed by the character-building here. All of this too on top of the superheroics and oddness that this first issue only briefly touches on, giving us an intriguing mystery to explore are we move forward.
What puts this debut even further over the top is the beautiful art from Ilias Kyriazis and Cris Peter. Kyriazis' line art is wonderful, packing the page with detail, while keeping a simple, slightly angular style for characters. It reminds me a bit of Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel, but not nearly as exaggerated, and with a finer line. The designs for the aliens and Liam's potentially-superhero mother are very nice, and Kyriazis' facial expressions are impressive. When Peter's colors are added, it just elevates everything further. There's a soft focus grain to the art to begin with, giving everything a slight hazy feel. Beyond that, a color palette full of purples and blues consistent with the internal narration word balloons, contributing to a somewhat distancing atmosphere.
Overall, Way, Simon, Kyriazis, Peter, and Bowland give us an enthralling offbeat debut in Collapser #1. Rich in story and character, with a mystery of Liam's powers, family, and predicament still to enfold. This is a perfect addition to a line that has already given us such highlights as Doom Patrol, Eternity Girl, and Mother Panic.
Writers: Mikey Way & Shaun Simon
Artist: Ilias Kyriazis
Colorist: Cris Peter
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: DC Comics / Young Animal
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d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on Twitter @93418.