Black Mask Studios 2016
Created & Written by Tini Howard
Created & Illustrated by Devaki Neogi
Coloured by Jen Hickman
Lettered by Aditya Bidikar
A stylish, political adventure about a pair of hip, clever teens who fool the world into believing they have superpowers. It is the 1960s. The Russians have the A-bomb, the H-bomb, and now the most terrifying weapon of all: a pair of psychically superpowered young people. Terrified and desperate, the US top brass scours from coast to coast in search of psychic Americans. Enter Dr. Isobel Santaclara, an eccentric illusionist and grifter who has recruited two teenagers and trained them to trick the US government, the Russians, and the whole world into believing they are dangerous psychics.
Well I have to say that I wasn’t sure what to quite expect from this but I’m super glad I gave it a try. The first issue really does delve into the plot here as we see Isobel take her two charges to meet with some scientists to determine if they have psychic powers. What we get as we read this is wonderful. The characterisation and the way the kids do their thing is extremely well portrayed. In fact while we have some visual clues not all is what it seems there’s a moment that comes along and kind of reaffirms it. It’s well thought out and constructed to establish what it is that’s going on here.
The kids are gifted make no mistake about that only they are gifted in much different ways than the scientists or the President ever realise. Their development here is only just beginning and the mess they find themselves in not only puts them in over their heads but will push them to their limits and beyond. I like this it’s a situation that they have no choice but to see through to it’s bitter end and learn that the skills they’ve acquired over their young lives will be what saves them.
The interior artwork is interesting, there’s a lot of smoking going on here but then it is the sixties when that was in fashion. The fashions are great, including the hairdo’s so that we feel like we’re there and in some kind of mad mod way. The flow through the page layouts using angles and perspective are nicely done. The use of backgrounds is strategic and well portrayed and though i’d like more i’m one of those that feels each panel needs them but overall the mood, tone and feel of this book is great to see.
So the real question becomes can one established grifter, who got past their background checks, and her two charges go up against the Russians and their own gifted psychics to find out what weapons they have and how they much the know, all the while fooling the American Government? With creative ingenuity and a wildly imaginative start i’m looking forward to seeing how this pair of reluctant heroes are going to turn the tide and save the free world from the cold iron grip.
Do yourself a favour and pick this one up. With all kinds of charm and imagination this is the kind of story you don’t come across everyday.