Dinosaurs riding dinosaurs, Chinamerica, an aggressive and expanding world-state, and a conspiracy to bring the aggressors to their knees all wrapped into just one book. Is it good?
Parallel Man #1 (Future Dude)
A routine descent into Andrews Air Force Base quickly spirals into chaos and an intriguing fast-paced story that never loses steam. Writers Jeffrey Morris and Frederick Haugen build a compelling multiverse full of amazing and dangerous alternate dimensions. The danger quickly builds when Air Force One is warped out of the sky and transported to an alternate Earth that has seen better days.
Artist Christopher Jones provides imagery of a bombed out Washington D.C. However, the destruction, though significant, does not match the writing. At one point an aide to the President questions, “What weapon could cause that kind of damage, Mister President?” The President responds, “None I’m aware of…” Obviously, the President has never seen footage from any major conflict the United States has participated in. In the War of 1812, the White House itself was burned to the ground. Christopher Jones depicts two holes in the White House and about three craters surrounding it, hardly something an unknown weapon could do. Not only does the art fail to match the mental imagery the writing evokes, but the destruction looks fake. The Lincoln Memorial has damage that appears to be a smooth circular cut behind Lincoln’s head, while his head has jagged cuts in it.
The real danger comes with the introduction of Warren Cartwright surrounded by soldiers stealing Iron Man’s style and his subtle announcement “Your New Leader.”
The book’s action really kicks into high gear when Morris and Haugen switch from Warren Cartwright and President Obama to Agent Morgan. Morgan’s story takes the reader on a high-speed chase through multiple dimensions as he is pursued by agents of the Ascendancy. Christopher Jones’ artwork in exploring these new dimensions is brilliant. He creates quadruple decker buses, angry dinosaur-riding dinosaurs, massive mushrooms, and a humongous mobile oil refinery! Each dimension has its own different feel. Though some may be similar, Jones is able to clearly define the differences and make them easily discernible.
Assisting Jones is colorist Zac Atkinson, who gives the heavy industrial Chinamerica dimension a heavy dose of grays and browns depicting pollution that even stains the buildings. Contrast this with the dinosaur dimension which is filled with a pale pink sky and drab green land areas.
Driving the story, aside from the heart-pounding chase sequence through multiple unique and interesting dimensions, is an overall good versus evil with a dash of conspiracy and engaging dialogue between Agent Morgan and artificial intelligence, Atlas, who also doubles as his flying vehicle. Morris and Haugen are able to combine an intriguing background to the world of Parallel Man with a complex moral dilemma. The development of the relationship between Agent Morgan and Atlas will be very interesting to follow as the story unfolds and hopefully the two will explore the science involved in their dimensional travel!
If there was not enough in this opening book to draw your eye, Morris and Haugen throw in a twist that provides comic relief and a potentially unexpected hero.
Is It Good?
Parallel Man #1 is a very fun story that provides a rich combination of adventure and intrigue. There were definitely some setbacks in the beginning with the artwork and writing not matching up, but once Morris and Haugen introduce Agent Morgan the book hits its stride with fantastic dimensions and engaging dialogue.