‘Undetermined #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Decisions, decisions...

First issues can be very tricky things; there's got to be something to engage a reader who may be peeking at it in a shop while waiting to grab their pulls. They might be only willing to give you a couple of pages to see if what you've got is for them, and because of this, I often see new series begin with a glut of action, with splashy art and styling that tries to grab the reader and drag them into their world.  Undetermined's team has taken a different approach. There's not much flashy or particularly grabbing about the issue, but there is a subtle invitation, a teasing question that draws you page after page, wondering just what it is that you've gotten yourself into.

In the spirit of that tease, I'm not going to outline exactly what's going on in the world of Undetermined, but I will tell you that Robert is billed as a typical teen in a typical life, and over the course of several days finds that his world is not all what he thought it was.  Writer A.M. Perry's influences are evident within the work, though perhaps buried just enough that you'll need a second read to catch the "ah-ha."  Perry's writing is sparse, but nuanced, showing a great confidence in not only his story but in the general intellect of his audience.  There's no pandering here - no tight-clothed vixens or hunks vying for the attention of our lesser demons, and no snarky catch prhases to hook you - just a simple story with some extraordinary elements that you and the protagonist can't hide from.  This is a book that will draw you in when you let it, and the story is interesting enough to warrant a trip inside its cover.

The artwork matches the subtlety of the script, with little details carrying weighty implications on the page.  The character designs are solid and are good at providing a lot of information quickly.  Though dimensions and relative spacing/sizing seems to vary at times, the panels are composed well and do a solid job of building the world for us.

I wasn't sure exactly where I was going until the last page of this comic, and on subsequent re-reads, I found the genius that's embedded deep into its DNA.  This is a intelligent work that will stimulate good imagination and conversation.  I highly recommend getting lost a little in Robert's "typical" life. I think it's going to be a series with a solid base that can hit on many levels because of the care that is evident on every page.  Check it out; the Kickstarter for the series will be launching on May 11th.

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Creative Team:  A.M. Perry (Writer), Chris Holmes (Artist)
Publisher: Quaktion Comics
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