This first issue is setting up a story that feels epic, and my curiosity is sufficiently piqued. I am dying to know who the men from G.E.S.T.A.L.T. are, as is Price, and even more so, what G.E.S.T.A.L.T. stands for, because that’s one creative acronym. We get to see a bit of the home life of Agent Faraday, the cloaked sniper that has been assigned by Albright Industries to play babysitter for Price, much to his, and her, continued chagrin. It is obvious their team-up may be necessary, but it is definitely not enjoyed by either of them. Van Lente’s humor is still quick, sharp, and especially laconic when it comes to Georgina Delacorte, the head of Albright Industries’ Bio-Vancements, and the holder of more than a few secrets regarding Price’s past. Artist Freddie Williams II returns, and his style is darker, with solid, straightforward character designs, but he still brings the gusto that he lent to the Dark Horse Presents-collected Brain Boy #0. My personal preference is for R.B. Silva’s more sixties-influenced style from the first miniseries, but Williams II is making Brain Boy his own, and, in doing so, is beginning to win me over more and more. Since large parts of action and dialogue are initiated and delivered internally and mentally, lettering has always been an important part of Brain Boy, and Nate Piekos of Blambot gets the job done right, making the narration and thought balloons gel naturally with the images and unfolding story. And, the sound effects bring to life action that otherwise may be harder to process or connect with due to its telekinetic nature.
There is no doubt that Van Lente has some exciting and unexpected tricks up his sleeve, and I am also intrigued to see how Brain Boy fits inside Dark Horse’s Project Black Sky universe. Brain Boy has always been shrouded in mystery, but with G.E.S.T.A.L.T. Van Lente ups the ante with grand conspiracies and powerful, shadowy organizations. The storytelling and art hook you and draw you in, connecting with your need to find answers and your love of action and espionage. This is a visceral, cerebral book, and, as it builds, it’s sure to get inside your head, just like Matt Price.