Written by: Eric Stephenson
Art by: Simon Gane
After an impressive first showing last issue that introduced what felt like the x-men for a new generation, Stephenson slows down the pacing allowing us to focus on the group of super powered outcasts and their questionable moral activities.
This issue really grabbed me while reading it, as stated the focus of this issue is what the group actually do, and I found it quite shocking. Stephenson takes the twists and tensions brewing at the end of last issue and runs with it. Seeing some of the displays of violence on innocents they preform really shocked me, it’s not overly graphic or anything, it just caught me off guard and is another instance of the book pulling the rug out from under your feet when you think it’s becoming predictable. The pages were expertly framed too in this opening by Gane, giving the maximum impact and ensuring the book grabs you by the throat from the beginning.
What makes this issue work so well though is how it blurs the moral line and makes you question every character and their actions. Sure at the start their actions seem reprehensible, but as the issue progresses and they have their say, I kind of started agreeing with them. It’s a strange, uncomfortable sensation that is mirrored by the main character and is what draws me to the series so far. Every time something seems cliché or predictable, the book intentionally twists the knife and makes you question your opinions on the characters and their goals. It’s a really interesting angle and I’m excited to see how it develops in later issues.
Gane’s art shines throughout the book, presenting a cinematic feel that mimics the punchy, impactful nature of the story. He knows how best to layout the story to make the pacing feel natural, using splash pages sparingly but effectively. When he does use splash pages however they look great and feel like a necessary part of the story rather than a need to fill space. Special note should go to the colours of Jordie Bellaire, he switches his colour pallet excellently during the different flashbacks in the issue which make the transitions feel smooth and natural. The use of harsh reds too add an underlying level of tension to the comic that highlights the earlier stated feeling of unease.
Really, my only main issue with this comic is that it doesn’t feel like the actual story has progressed very far from where we left last time, however this is forgiveable given just how effective this issue is at presenting some really interesting folds and wrinkles into the story. It’s a very interesting read that is sure to only get more and more morally blurred as things progress. If further issues remain this high quality however then it’s a rabbit-hole I’m happy to go down.