Boom! Studios 2017
Created & Written by Clay McLeod Chapman
Illustrated by Jey Levang
Lettered by Aditya Bidikar
So last issue Clay wasted no time getting the ball rolling as he introduced us to a group of incoming freshmen and the disease that would irrevocably change their world. Known as H3N8, I'm just going to refer to it as the Virus, the school has been officially quarantined. It's really like something out of a movie and the British did something similar that was just as compelling, covering the building and not letting anyone in or out while all the workers wear hazmat suits. That's all in the first issue too.
I have to say that what Clay is doing here is pretty awesome. I like the characterisation of these kids and how some of them remain able to function in this environment without flipping out completely. Yet there are still others who take advantage of the situation and turn it into what could become a Lord of the Flies type situation. Either way he's developing these characters in some extremely interesting ways. There's so much potential being unveiled and it makes the readers mind swirl with possibilities.
There is something else that seems to be going on here as well. Now we see some narration or dialogue of kids using social media and at least one refers to his Facebook feed so we know some of what's going on in the outside world. It would seem that the Virus isn't an isolated event and that there are plenty of people out there that are also sick. That's what I'm inferring from all that and if that's the case then outside this school there's an actual pandemic out there. If so then there's much more story to be told in this world.
Jey's work keeps going on me. Where I would have thought I'd like to see a more detailed style in play but this almost watercolour effect and the inks work well together. The work brings this intangible quotient to the interiors that I find appealing. Plus, he's able to really bring these characters to life and showcase a wide variety of infection in the different people. The use of page layouts through their angles and perspective show a strong eye for storytelling. While dorm life is contained like it is there's not much use for a lot of backgrounds which makes me sad but it's all good.
I have to admit that for something so dark and being kept in the dark there is a lot of false joy happening here. I get it these are kids though they are in college and I'd love to see some who are trying to get into the medical field at least attempt research or show us what's going on on the outside to try to figure out how to stop the spread of the Virus. I mean how on Earth are we supposed to know what's going on with the Virus if no one is telling us?
Though if this is strictly a tale about these kids stuck in their college dorm I can handle that I just need to know where on the spectrum the story is supposed to fit. I mean there really are a number of great directions this story could go in aside from the whole two star-crossed wannabe lovers against the rest of the student population. Seriously either way we look at it it's a great story so far and I'm in for the long haul.
A strong premise with excellent characterisation alongside some interior artwork that suits this to a T makes this book what it is.