Tuesday, January 14, 2014
"We only seek the child."
Finding faith is something that people often turn to as a solution to a grave concern of theirs. It often relies on asking questions, but sometimes a lack of faith necessitates asking questions later. Maybe even shooting first when faced with an obstacle. S.H.O.O.T. First #4 from Dark Horse Comics completes the series of faith and the faithless, written by Justin Aclin, illustrated by Nicolás Daniel Selma and colored by Marlac.
The Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce (S.H.O.O.T.) is tasked with defending the world from the things they don't believe in. This includes all manner of angels, devils, fairies and dragons, all of which constantly threaten that same humanity, prompting the team to rely on weapons designed by Secular Humanist Applications Research and Development (S.H.A.R.D.). These weapons demand a complete lack of faith in order to be fired, pitting the team against the Outside Actors who feed on the belief of people. S.H.O.O.T. is comprised of Bett, Infidel, Byron and Mrs. Brookstone, with Mrs. Brookstone having a unique connection to the OAs themselves that threatens to destroy the entire world.
Aclin's story is concluded with the fourth issue and it punctuates a rather interesting concept in mixing faith and fantasy. At first, the series really just seems like another tale of demons seeking to invade Earth for whatever reason, but Aclin does enough to ensure that it feels different and unique. There's a twist at the end that keeps it fresh and the reader on their toes, something that's always welcome in books these days. The concept that weapons are created that can only be fired without faith against opponents whose core strength is faith is also played to great effect as well. The Outside Actors are shown to be a mix of good and bad, with some of them really taking the interests of humans at heart.
Selma's art is smooth, despite not really standing out for any particular reason. Characters are illustrated with a clean, black lines and little attention to detail in terms of body type and facial features. Where he really excelled though was the emotion on the characters' faces, which really help to impress upon the reader what's happening and what they're going through. Aclin puts them through multiple crises of faith that Selma excellently renders their reactions very well. Selma gets really creative as well with the variety of OAs that S.H.O.O.T. is tasked with squaring off against and these monsters are done with a lot of emphasis on their personalities.
S.H.O.O.T. First #4 concludes the series and Aclin took it to a very interesting place. The premise in the first issue is fleshed out and really poses some interesting questions when it comes to faith and belief. The stakes that the team fight prove to be more than capable of seeing their plans through, which offers a really fascinating solution in the form of the team having faith in their ability to win. That faith isn't placed in a specific religion or belief, but S.H.O.O.T. is forced to reconcile their abilities to save the day with their devotion to not being faithful in a way. Selma's art successfully gets the action going and illustrated the story well, proving that even fairies can fight if their lives depend on it. The series ends with an opening for the team to continues their adventures and is a fun series to check out
S.H.O.O.T. First #4 hits stores January 15.