Strayer #1 Review

Posted January 28, 2016 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Justin Jordan

Art by: Juan Gedeon

Publisher: AfterShock

I’m kind of disgusted with myself for not knowing that Justin Jordan had a knew book coming out until today. I can’t be living that far beneath a rock, can I? Anyways, Strayer #1 is phenomenal. It’s post apocalyptic mixed with elements of high fantasy, and I loved every panel. The book opens on a page of exposition, which is usually a massive turn off for me, but man, this was different. The first text box hooked me. I immediately wanted to know more about the world – in some ways, it was actually reminiscent of the Culture novels (Consider Phlebas in particular, I would say) in the sense that something would be referenced, and I would immediately have this desire to learn everything I could about it. Unfortunately, there’s only one issue of Strayer, and an entire series of Culture novels, so I’ll have to wait to learn more, I guess.

The art is just as important as the writing, when it comes to sparking my interest in the world. The aesthetic style isn’t exactly unique, but then again, the base concept has been explored before, so I’m not holding that against either Jordan or Juan Gedeon. Anyways, there’s a great mix of visual cues here, that would feel at home in multiple genres. The art mixes science fiction, western, and sword and sorcery sensibilities. We see a dungeon, a town that looks ripped from the American west, and the HUD of a massive robot (presumably a robot, it could be a cyborg). It’s all excellently realized, and furthers the sense of wonder that Strayer instilled upon me.

Contrary to the world, there’s not a ton of character depth in this issue. This is one of the reasons I don’t love reviewing debut issues – there just isn’t enough time to accurately evaluate characters yet. What we do get of the two leads is good, and they’re definitely interesting; if only based on how they interact with the world. Justin Jordan has a background in writing strong character driven stories though, so I’m not worried that he doesn’t go out of his way to flesh them out immediately. In fact, most of what we do get is actually thanks to Gedeon. It’s the visuals that are used to establish who Strayer and Mala are as people. Of course, it’s all very abstract currently – I couldn’t give a description of the characters that consists of more than a string of ajectives that may or may not be tangentially related. But most of this is in thanks to Gedeon’s work.

If you couldn’t tell, Strayer #1 comes highly recommended from me. It’s the type of comic that really deserves to explode and get super popular, because of how exceptionally well crafted it is. Yes, all of this praise does come with the caveat that there’s only a single issue out so far, but if it’s indicative of the quality of the rest of the series, we’re in for quite the ride.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.