Aftershock Comics 2021
Based of a Philip K. Dick Story
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Illustrated by Tony Shasteen
Coloured by JD Mettler
Lettered by Troy Peteri
America, 1957. Elvis dominates the airwaves and apple pie is served after every meal. But, with the dark cloud of nuclear holocaust looming, Korean War vet Tim McClean's major concern is taking care of his family in the atomic age. When the first bomb does drop on an unexpecting Midwest city, Tim and his family find themselves plunged into a strange new world, where what's left of the Unites States has gone underground while continuing to wage war on Russia with unthinkable tactics.
Okay I am in. I really like the premise of what we’re seeing here though I am surprised to see this deviate from the original so much. Artistic licence and all that but I found myself drawn to Tim in this weird and wonderful way. The idea of a man coming home from the Korean War, starts a family and has a bomb shelter in his basement. The outward appearance is more like Leave it to Beaver and inwardly he’s this Prepper, waiting for World War III to start and the way we see this is very well done.
I am enjoying the way this is being told. How we see the story & plot development through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented nicely. I also like that it’s 1957 and the cold war is in full swing and everyone smokes, so it has this pretty realistic feel to it. The character development is interesting and it’s easy to see Tim for who he is and a lot more diplomatic and practical than I was expecting. Dan’s a slick one and I kind of like him though something tells me we won’t see him again. The family isn’t as fleshed out as much yet but I expect that to change as the story goes on. The pacing is strong and it takes us through the pages revealing the story in bits and pieces which generates a good deal of interest in the reader.
The way that this is structured and how we see the layers within the story emerge it’s just enough to garner the intrigue and interest factors but not enough to really tell us much which is interesting. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow is beautifully rendered.
I am a huge fan of Tony’s work and that happens to be a huge reason why I picked this up. There is something about the way he’s able to use the linework with its varying weights and techniques to create the level and quality of detail that we see is stupendous. The way we see backgrounds utilised within the composition of the panels and how they bring us depth perception, a sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story is utterly marvellous. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels showcase a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work we see is gorgeous! How we see the application of the colour with its various hues and tones within the colours utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is stunning. The knowledge of how colour works and how it can be seen is just beyond belief.
I’m entirely thrilled with how the issue ends to be honest. It seems a tad off and well it’s a huge leap of faith to believe that they’d refer to him that way. Also it’s kind of weird hearing that word whether written or spoken even with the cold war going on and it kind of feels out of place but that could just be me and my familiarity with the original short story. Or maybe I am just remembering it wrong who can say for certain. Still it’s a gorgeously illustrated tale that really represents the era and the idea we see extremely well. Aftershock is home to some really bold choices which always pay off in some of the spectacular ways imaginable.