AWA Upshot 2021
Written by Bryan Edward Hill
Illustrated by Priscilla Petraites
Coloured by Marco Lesko
Lettered by Andworld Design
The Chariot was a Cold War-era secret government project to provide its star agent with a weapon unlike any other in the form of a supercharged muscle car. It sank into the ocean decades ago, and the agent along with it. Now, a petty criminal looking to reform his life has stumbled upon the Chariot, and he's about to find out that the agent's consciousness is still controlling it in this synthwave thriller.
The more we see the more we want to see and the deeper we get into the story and we start to see some of the hidden agendas start to emerge and become stronger adding to the depth, complexity and some absolutely delicious tension to an already tense story. This isn’t like anything else out there and to be honest any similarities I might have though of in the beginning have completely gone out the window. Yes there are elements taken from here and there but this is as unique and original as it gets and I have to applaud Bryan for the work he’s doing here.
I really like the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development is amazing as we see the dialogue, character interaction along with how they act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter really does flesh them out beautifully. My biggest surprise that I enjoyed is that Sadie and Gillian actually do meet and Sadie is just too distraught and too tired to argue with who or what Gillian is and it’s their interaction that is one which makes the most impact on me here. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing more of the story as well as the twists & turns along the way the blend of all we see is terribly exciting.
How we see this structured with the layers within the story growing, evolving and newly emerging is where the depth and complexity really come from. How everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is achieved extremely well.
The interiors here are fantastic. How we see the linework with its varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail work is amazing stuff. There are some real wow moments here like seeing the computer generated grid pattern on the car and basically every time we Gillian. I do wish we’d see a lot more backgrounds in use, still we get some beautiful depth perception, sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a marvellous eye for storytelling. The colour work is exceptionally well rendered. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is great stuff.
This feels like that huge issue where the reveals are spectacular and have this massive impact on what’s to come. With Gillian’s sister wanting immortality and not quite understanding the what Gillian has is a curse not a blessing and yet will do whatever she can to possess it is part of what makes this so bloody interesting. I can imagine the deceit, misdirection along with the lies and half truths that are still to come and this is how invested and engaged in the story I am. I’ve gone above and beyond what’s presented in the story and I've let my own creativity and imagination run rampant with the ideas of how this will go. There is no guarantee of course that I’ll be remotely close but that just means I have to come back to find out if my own thoughts are even close.
With such an intelligently written story and dynamic interiors this engages the reader in the most wondrous of ways.