Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jonathan Wayshak
Colorist: Jordan Boyd
I’ll be honest, when it comes to Dynamite books, I tend to gloss over the titles when looking to make my pull list. Not to say that any are bad, but after flipping through some every now and then, I have the belief that MOST are not for me (excluding a book like The Spirit). However, when I see a new Rick Remender book, I’m intrigued enough to check out the first issue, and was hoping that Dynamite grabbed another quality title to add to their ranks here. What we got was one of the least Dynamite feeling Dynamite has ever published, and if this is a new direction, I’m on board.
Taking a look at Remender’s creator owned work, in many of the books, there’s a theme of post apocalyptic or post disaster. This book fits right in. The hook is that the government, or world’s governments, decide that religion has become too dangerous for the world at large, and employ science to try to develop a virus to eliminate the part of the brain that believes in God. As you’d expect, this backfires, and the virus ends up causing people to “devolve” to neanderthal like states. We end up following a woman named Raja, who’s on the hunt to find a possible cure for what happened to society, and along the way she ends up in a sticky situation that will hinder her journey. Right off the bat, Raja comes off as a strong, badass woman as she escapes from some of the devolved. For those of you who read Low by Remender, Raja appears to be just as strong as the main character there, and going forward I have no doubt Remender will make her painfully empathetic in the way only he can do. We didn’t get too much of it here, as most of this issue is just establishing the world, but by the end, it’s clearly going in that direction. Something I’ve never encountered in a Remender book, however, is a feeling of heavy handedness, which we get when Remender describes how society fell into this free fall of filth, in a not very veiled description of what the world is today. He worked this minefield well in Tokyo Ghost, but here he goes on a little too long in establishing just how screwed up society is. I’m not saying I necessarily disagree, it just seemed to go on and on. I can’t imagine that’ll happen going forward, and his track record would attest to that as well.
While Remender is a known commodity, I had never heard of Jonathan Wayshak previous to this. From this point on, I’ll be on the lookout for his work, because this is top notch stuff. As I’ve said in previous reviews, Dynamite titles have a history of having some unfortunate art, for whatever reason, but the rendering here was a pleasant surprise. While he has a detailed style, a lot of lines and heavy blacks, the action sequences are kinetic, and the linework actually gives the panels motion. When getting into those scenes, like a chase on horseback for example, the character rendering moves into a slightly more streamlined, European like style, which works very well here. The coloring of the issue is an aspect I’m still trying to make my mind up about. Boyd has always had a knack for picking great palettes for stories, and he does that here as well. He cements us in the dirt of the world very well. Sometimes, however, I thought the rendering was a little too sculpted, and I’m not too sure if that’s on the coloring or just the inking from Wayshak. Nonetheless, that’s kind of a nitpick, and I still enjoyed each page.
With a quickly growing pull list, I am left with no choice but to add this to the pile. The story and world are very compelling, and I’m left wanting to know more about Raja. Even though this issue wasn’t perfect, I have no doubt the future of this title will be stellar.
4 cures out of 5