Hold onto your butts.
Thrust into the action immediately, Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson’s team-up story certainly starts with some rising action. We meet a man with no memory of who he is or what he’s doing, or where we are. Yeah, so exposition’s out. Pieces of memory float into his consciousness, and we’re given a decent explanation as to why this is happening and are greeted with a color code that tells more than I first thought.
Without spoiling anything, our main character is supposed to be traveling in time, and things might not be going as planned, or at least as planned by him. There’s a cool amount of nuance and implication at work in this first issue, you’re drawn not only to what’s being said, but the holes where things are not said are very evident even in a cursory read. There’s a mystery here, and we’re treated with the right amount of information; not so much that we feel we already have the answers, not so little as to leave us feeling helpless and lost. This team walks the fine line of giving us enough that if we just had one or two clues, we might get a solid read on what’s happening without giving up the whole ghost right away.
There’s a very interesting removal of agency from our protagonist. At no point in this issue does it seem that he has control over what he’s doing or how he goes about doing it. We have a man reduced to an evident, pawn-like status from the beginning, and he is reactionary in every way. He doesn’t have a step on this world yet, and so we can empathize with him immediately.
The artwork has a very cool style, and action is more implied than drawn out. (Oh, the puns.) Albuquerque forgoes a subtle palette of representation but has already begun to color code this world, making it seem like the astute may catch onto things a little bit faster, such as one moment of communication that seems contrary to what’s expected. I’m really digging the cues and overtones; it’s making this a very cool puzzle, indeed.
If you’re into starting an adventure that will have you rereading and really scanning each page, this seems like it will be a series for you. I’m very excited about the possibilities and am really digging on the mystery. I feel activated and alert; there’s just something in here that’s got my brain asking questions and really wanting answers. Folks who dug Lost and Sherlock will find some engaging thrills here to be sure.
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