Stratum Comics 2012
Created & Written by Mark Schmidt & Vince Chuter
Illustrated by Jordi Perez Estevez
Coloured by Phillip Fuller
There are so many companies these days vying for your attention and sometimes you luck out and find something unexpected. For me this usually in artists alley at a convention where I purposefully look for the little guy. This one however showed up in my email with a request to check it out and i’m always willing to do that. What I found was something unique, interesting and both completely within the realm of possibility and completely out there.
We start in the future with Paul Jacobs recounting the way things were. In this world the U.S. Economy collapsed and it was then that the Government as we know it changed and the corporations took over. In Houston that came under the leadership of one man Michael Swaj.
Immediately we learn of a subject designated “Singe” and that he has responded well to small doses of a mysterious agent. Biological testing to create a super-human. He’s interrupted in his office as a problem has arisen.
Moving backward a little further to a younger Michael who seems to ignore the company he works for policy of dealing with the military. Seems they want to improve the world not make more effective tools of war. So what’s a man with his kind of vision and personality to do when his bosses don’t want him going a certain direction? Well read the issue and find out because what we get is some strong and effective characterization. Mark and Vince take a nice amount of time to give you what this man is about and define his character. For better or ill he’s who he is and you’ll clearly see that.
Reading this issue we see a lot more than Mr. Swaj we see others some of whom are called virals, super-humans. We learn more about how the virus that causes the virals is made, spread and the possibility of an onslaught of more to come. We also see that old adage “the best laid plans of mice and men” in play meaning control really is an illusion. There’s a lot of great potential here and it’s off to a fantastic start. There’s nice story progression, plot development, characterization centered around a great premise. Corporations taking over the country running basically unchecked yeah it’s a real possibility and we see that this could come true.
It’s intriguing enough, frightening enough because the situation is viable and bio-weapons are on the news and something very scarily real. That they would cause super-humans so that corportaions could have their own teams and security well that’s another type of story. Regardless this is what we look for in a new unknown series and it’s one I think you should seek out and support.
Jordi and Phillip’s work on the interiors is also rather impressive. Usually I find the interiors in this situation more amateurish but here they’ve got real talent and seem to be really working hard on making it the best they can and that comes across on the page. They really do manage to give us great feelings from looking at the characters, at the mishaps that were bound to happen and the emergence of powers in people.
This is new fresh and feels like a combination of fiction and reality. Also another reason why I encourage you to seek out small self-published books you’ll mightily surprised.