Cosmic Times‘ Decisions is about the choices we make in life. The hard choices. The ones that determine how a person’s life turns out. The comic series follows two wandering specters as they provide people at a crossroads in their lives the opportunity to review their choices and see potentially different outcomes before making their final decision.
Each issue of Decisions is self-contained, focusing on a different character’s story and a different subject matter. The only overlap being the two unnamed figures who are the catalyst for the protagonists to review their lives. The creative team of Martin T. Pierro, Zach Bassett, and Jeramy Hobbs did an incredible job in making me care about the protagonist of each issue in a short amount of time. Each issue cuts across time, sometimes featuring moments from the protagonist’s past, possible futures, or both. Seeing how these characters turn out or where they started is heartbreaking or immensely rewarding depending on the story, but, in whatever case, it played with my emotions.
Decisions has a 16+ tag on it for a good reason. The topics the series tackles include subject matter such as suicide, rape, and abortion, with an emphasis on issues that surround sex, which may be uncomfortable for even adult readers. Decisions has an interesting way it approaches its difficult subject matter. As a comic book it would be easy to rely on graphic images of violence or sex to try and drive home its point, but it wisely doesn’t. Pierro, Bassett, and Hobbs understand the power of the human imagination and, instead, use panels to provide a context and anticipation, while leaving the messy details to the human brain. It’s a highly effective technique. My mind took me to some dark territory reading these issues, darker than I think a more graphic image would have provided. I think what makes it all the more powerful is that these stories have a basis in reality. Even if these aren’t anyone’s specific story, as a reader I have heard stories like this before through gossip or the media. In the case of Decisions, I’m placed over the protagonist’s shoulder while they go through these terrible situations and have to make the toughest calls of their lives.
Decisions uses a black-and-white art style, which is ironic when the morality is anything but. The storytelling of Pierro and Bassett is top notch. There’s no such thing as a straightforward decision. Even something as simple as whether or not a protagonist chooses to die is fraught with threads upon threads. Sever or repair one, and it affects everything. While the stories are handled well, there is the potential for Decisions to come across as preachy at first. I had that feeling especially with the first story of Issue #1, “Tanya’s Story,” but stick with it. The further in you go, the more the comic is providing multiple arguments and perspectives. No one path is right.
You can learn more about Decisions and can purchase the issues by clicking here.