Comics Anonymous

June 12, 2012, 8:30 am
Filed under: Boom Studio Comics, Comic Reviews | Tags: , , ,

They say “never judge a book by it’s cover” – but they didn’t say anything about variant covers, did they? I’ll be honest and up front, Boom! Studio’s Extermination #1 wasn’t on my radar, It wasn’t until I was standing in Red Hot Comics browsing this week’s new titles when I noticed  it and 2 things stood out – it was a very tempting 80p ($1 for you yanks) and it had an obscene amount of variant covers, most of them sporting a couple of masked guys beating the crap out of giant bug like monsters – SOLD.

Extermination #1 comes from the mind of Simon Spurrier, a british writer that’s got a fairly good reputation round these parts, having worked for 2000AD and Marvel in the past, but someone who, up until now, I hadn’t read anything by. Lucky for me, it also tells one of my favourite kinds of story – a post apocalyptic world – but not just any world, this is parallel DC/Marvel kind of world where superheroes exist. My interest for this comic just went from 0 to 100.

It might not be the first post apocalyptic tale I’ve read or reviewed this week, but it still gets points for originality. The world has gone tits up after an alien race invades and mercilessly picks off the human race with it’s interesting use of astrally projected bad guys. Yep – I’ve never seen those before either. Our story follows Nox and the Red Reaper as they struggle for survival in the barren wastelands left behind from the invasion – an unlikely duo for one simple reason – before the apocalypse, these two were sworn enemies, but are now forced to work together to survive. Imagine if Batman had to partner up with the Joker to save the day?

In fact keep that image handy, cause it’s quite close to what this comic is trying to achieve, almost as if Spurrier couldn’t convince DC to write an end of the world Batman story so decided to do it himself. He’s clearly not hiding the obvious parallels with references like the “Nocturnal Knight” and the character’s refusal to kill anyone, even if they are an evil alien zombie feasting on a child. It works well as a kind of “What if?” type story, with plenty of interesting ground covered between two characters who were previously at each other’s neck, but now have each other’s back.

Where I did get a little lost though was it’s steep learning curve required to understanding the world and it’s terminology. Like all good sci-fi there’s plenty of new technology we’ve never heard of before, like Bladecycles and Whinedrones, and even the concept of telepathic assaults and Dreamforming, which bombards the reader within the first few pages. Setting up a new world from scratch like this isn’t simple, but gets easier as we progress through a story as it’s drip fed to us in small doses, however this book holds nothing back, dropping you smack bang in the centre. For me, it meant that I clumsily read through the story, pausing frequently to try and grasp what was going on or what was being spoken about.

Like the writing, the artwork from Jeffrey Edwards is spot on at recreating something you might see in the DC Universe – the hero character Nox is literally 2 bat ears short of a full cowl. The colouring works well too at distinguishing what time period we’re in (pre/post apocalypse) thus removing the need for continual text reminders about when the scene takes place.

Overall I’m pretty pleased I picked the book up – it’s not often I find something I’ve heard nothing about before and therefore no precoception about. It’s also nice when the gamble pays off when trying something totally new out, but you can’t really grumble about trying this for 80p – if anything it gives you a little taste of what DC could do if they loosened the reigns a little on their own properties.


Craig – @hastiecraig

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