Friday, August 2, 2013

Brand New Feature: Collider #1 (Vertigo Comics)

by Simon Oliver, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi

The promise that anything is possible is usually one that comes with a sense of pure optimism, meant to inspire. Though little is said, the context of the line delivered in the opening panels of Collider #1 has a much more foreboding sense. A man sits in a van, staring in a camera and records a message to be left for his son. He seems rushed, and whatever it is he is about to do, readers feel the finality of this action. It's a short sequence and not all that complicated, yet it's subtlety and weight are greatly effective. This book has high stakes, and readers will want to settle in.

The book picks up with Adam Hardy. Adam, along with Agent Kelly and Cicero are all members of the Federal Bureau of Physics. In this universe, the fabric of reality seems to be coming apart. Early on, Adam along with other field agents of the FBP are called to a high school. It comes as a result of a 911 call for a "localized gravity failure." While this fix seems rather a routine event, there is something about it and the exchange between Cicero, the intellectual, and Adam, the thrill seeker, that give reason to believe something else may be going on.

The characters in Collider #1 each have their own voice. A difficulty in any first issue is both introducing enough story to give readers a sense of direction, while also developing a few characters enough to invest the audience on a personal level. Simon Oliver does a good job here. This routine fringe event tells the readers enough about the state of the world, and witnessing how it is dealt with helps to lay the ground work for a few of the rule of this universe. Additionally, Oliver manages to give readers a great sense of the people they are witnessing in this opening issue through a few simple interactions. But when the gravity patch goes awry, the urgency and suspense emanating from the pages elevate the experience of this issue even higher.

The art for the title is incredible. Robbi Rodriguez's pencil work have elements of Sean Murphy's art style with a touch of Gabriel Bá's character designs. The art is a detailed and scratchy, and the complimentary coloring from Rico Renzi give the book a really great visual appeal. The day to day scenes make the universe feel lived in, while still adding a sense of awe to the more surreal scientific sequences.

The book ends with a real sense of dread. Something is amiss in this world. Readers are not clued into what that might be, but it could be tied to things the occur earlier in the issue. Visually, this last scene is rendered so impressively well. The back alley shadowing mixed with the rain storm look the best of any of the panels in the issue.

Collider #1 does an excellent job introducing readers to a fringe science world without ever having any trouble with its own language and technology. Oliver avoids any complex language or concepts, and this allows readers to get caught up in the sheer energy of the events and the characters on the page. Vertigo is looking to have yet another solid title on their hands.

Writing: 8/10
Art: 9/10
Overall: 8/10

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