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‘Binary Gray #8:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Binary Gray, a strong and assured spin on the superhero genre from independent publisher Assailant Comics, started off with a rich and intriguing history from the very first issue, but now with issue eight, writer and creator Chris Charlton sheds light on the mysterious past of The Agency and blows Alex Gray’s world into pieces in the process.  It turns out Alex has an unexpected connection to the subversive Agency, and this raises more questions than it answers for the overwhelmed Alex.  In this issue, aptly titled "Karma Police," Alex is tasked with keeping his mother safe, and the emotional intensity of their situation is palpable, full of menace, danger, and regret.  The repercussions of The Agency and Alex’s choices here will be felt long into the future of Binary Gray

As secrets from the past are revealed, the present grows more deadly, and Alex finds himself lost between the forces of good and evil, feeling as if he is a burden to one, and an exploitable weapon to the other.  Charlton relays Alex’s anxiety through a measured inner monologue that adds an extra layer of emotion to his circumstances.  In the flashback scenes Charlton does a solid job of presenting a large amount of exposition through interesting characters, pulling us in with tantalizing hints at real-world events that give us a sense of the scope of the conversations between these seemingly average men and women, almost all of their interactions taking place inside unassuming office spaces.  Charlton is building an exciting lore for Binary Gray, and here he brings in an entertaining conspiratorial element that wonderfully informs all that has happened in the series up to this point.  Brant W. Fowler is to be commended for his lettering, as he is working with larger portions of dialogue than usual, especially in the extended flashback, and yet he still maintains a steady and natural flow to the scenes and the character interactions.

Rowel Roque’s art and Anthonie Wilson’s colors work wonderfully together, and they highlight the simplicity with which incredibly important and far-reaching decisions can be made, without any fanfare.  This is a perfect juxtaposition to the way they present Alex’s plight, rife with violence and action.  Roque’s art shows the way The Agency has evolved over the years and what those past decisions have wrought.  Wilson’s colors explode in bright, electric blues when Alex is pushed to his limits, and the splashes of red throughout the issue have a feeling of immediacy to them, be they from blood or sirens.  Alex will have numerous choices ahead of him, and it will be interesting to see what path he heads down, because for the first time since he met The Virtue, he is in complete control of his future, wherever that future may take him.