For the longest time, Zack Kaplan has been a comic writer to keep an eye on. With excellent series like Port of Earth and Eclipse he’s solidified himself as a sci-fi writer to watch. This week he’s got a new series out from Aftershock Comics involving scientists, a secret city, and teenagers wondering what to do with themselves after high school.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
This is a story about mystery, discovery, and finding a purpose in life. Highly relatable!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with a quick but effective scene revealing a mystery with some supernatural elements in play. It gets you interested before it smash cuts to Hel, a teenager who doesn’t know if she wants to go to college or join the Peace Corps. We soon learn how she’s connected to the scientific mishap that opened the issue and is set on a quest to find the truth. There’s a Goonies vibe to the book; the main cast may be older, but they’re certainly cast in a similar sort of adventure with grand discoveries to be found.
Kaplan does a good job fleshing out Hel, who is complex and interesting. She hasn’t quite found her calling, but she’s spunky and willing to fight even when others are tamping down her motivations.
Alvaro Sarraseca draws this issue and does a great job with the talking head scenes. Hel’s expressions are on point and easily readable. The final full-page spread is detailed and has just the right amount of adventure pizazz to get your motor running to want to read more. Picture a detective’s wall with string, maps, and pictures and you’ll get the gist.
It can’t be perfect can it?
My only real gripe is how much talking Hel does. There’s a lot of telling rather than showing and that slows things down to a crawl at times. Kaplan is doing a lot of heavy lifting to get us to understand Hel’s perspective so we respect her. That leaves the adventure elements at the beginning and very end, making the issue sag in the middle.
Is it good?
A good first issue, but one that can be slow to get through. Still, I enjoy the premise and main character and will be back for more.