Image Comics 2015
Created, Written & Penciled by Shane Davis
Inked by Michelle Delecki
Coloured by Morry Hollowell
Well insert, four letter word here, me! Wow what an impressive debut of a series. So we meet Eric a high school student kind of that All-American boy next door type, blonde hair and blue eyed all around nice guy. He had a twin brother Erin, odd name for a boy but okay, who's no longer with them. So immediately we get a sense of Eric’s situation, pain and the kind of person he’s become. To be honest only a twin can understand the devastating pain and loss of losing the other has on them we can be sympathetic and empathic but we’ll never understand. No matter how hard those around you try, not even the stinkin Shrink can help you cope with losing more than a part of yourself.
On the one year anniversary of his twins passing Eric gets an invite to Beta test a new game Axcend. At first I was like what the hell he’s being pulled into the game and he’s not questioning it? Turns out that this world is technology more advanced and that holograms and such are commonplace. Interesting and I like this aspect because then we get to see more creativity not only in the storytelling but in the artwork as well. There’s a kind of unlimited potential there to be explored and that’s pretty exciting.
Okay by the way that System Moderator Dog is pretty much Anubis was freakin awesome! Eric’s two fellow testers have already had practice in the game so we see him get off to a slow start in all this. There’s some really interesting stuff happening here though and the least of if it is that you can play these games on a virtual level feeling everything with no ill effects to your body. Shane manages to get really characterization during the testing phase as well and makes you look forward to seeing these two again. Not to mention perhaps a chance seeing their real personas as well.
I can personally relate the seeing Eric with his shrink. It’s funny how some people they can help but others they just can’t seem to grasp the problem is theirs and not the patients. How can you expect to help someone when you have absolutely no idea what they’ve been through? This dude is a classic head doctor and that’s kind of scary and then the obligatory blame game and then of course the “are you going to hurt yourself” thing. Ugh this is the honest painful characterization that you don’t see anywhere else and i’m super impressed with how Shane handled all this.
The end of the issue is interesting. There are two things that could have happened and i’m going to have to wait till next issue to see which one it is. Regardless I don’t think that Eric could have predicted the outcome. Now though we see something new and different and I gotta say this makes the story more unique and fascinating in it’s direction than I thought it would be. I’m kind of a big fan already and hopefully the series will keep this kind of pace, intensity and characterization through each issue.
Also big props on the interior artwork here as well. Lots of facial expression, attention to detail, emotions you name it. Plus there’s still a vibrancy to it with all the heavy emotional parts to balance em out that I really liked. Page layouts, panel usage and the visual flow of the story is impressive. Plus the use of holograms in the classroom was an unexpected treat I hope we see more of!
Not your average teenage superhero type book. Intelligent, thought provoking and extremely interesting this is a prime example why Image’s creator owned books beat most anything else on the market, specially the “Big Two.”