First issues can be rough. Introductions need to be made. Histories need to be explained. Rules need to be established. It’s really easy for a first issue to sink like a rock under the weight of its own exposition, and I’m happy to inform you that The 36 #1 has none of these common hiccups! The story moves at a brisk pace, the characters are charismatic and intriguing, and White has a great mastery of balancing the dramatic tension with just the right amount of humor.
Our hero, Noam, a member of The 36, carries Moses’ staff and comes off as a noble and decent protagonist. It always helps when the reader can bond with the lead. (You’d be amazed how often this doesn’t happen in comics these days.) Noam’s brother, Levi, is a true-blue fanboy and provides a lot of humor in the first issue, as well as a number of geeky, pop-culture references that warmed my little, nerdy heart. Together, the brothers seek to save the innocent (or is she?) Lenore Jones who is the current target of an attack by a Golem (think Frankenstein’s monster, only made completely of mud).
The story is a meld of The X-Files and Indiana Jones and will be sure to entertain those who enjoy mysterious and epic adventure tales. White has successfully created a world that feels steeped in its own unique mythology, and the way we’re introduced to the mystical world of The 36, with its lost arts, supernatural powers, and ancient histories, almost guarantees the reader will be back for Issue #2, eager to learn more about Noam’s world and his quest to save Lenore and, ultimately, the world.
Artist George Zapata also has a big hand in making The 36 #1 a success. While his art may appear sketchy or slightly messy when compared to the standard industry comic book artist, it adds a defining and “lived-in” feel to the world of The 36. Zapata’s skills also infuse a startling amount of emotion into the characters’ faces and body language, helping to sell both the dramatic and comedic moments in the script, as well as endearing the reader to the lead characters.
If there were any complaints I had about the book, they were minor. There are times where the layout and Zapata’s style make some of the action scenes slightly confusing, but it’s only for a panel or two and doesn’t prevent the reader from following the story. There are also a few places where the book relies on Zapata’s handwritten sound effects, which could have benefited from the subtle, yet powerful, impact of lettered sound effects. Still, as stated before, this is a minor complaint.
All in all, Kristopher White’s The 36 #1 is an excellent read and well worth the purchase! The first issue is available at the official website, www.the36.net, and also as a digital comic from Graphicly. You can also follow creator/writer Kristopher White on Twitter, @heykristopher.
That’s all for now, comic book-sniffers! Be sure to come back next Friday for my review of the second issue of The 36. You can also check out Fanboy Comics’ previous interviews with Kristopher White at the following links:
‘Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer