Monday, January 19, 2015

Review - The Age #1


“Where were you when you were first made to feel small and frightened and alone?”

On the off chance that the world ever does encounter some form of being more advanced than a human, things are going to get weird. Humans have a penchant for not quite embracing change as quickly as they should. Coexistence will likely be mandatory, even if one side isn’t as keen on it as the other. Living alongside a brand new race of multi-colored humans in The Age #1 is a society a little confused and intrigued. The issue is written by James Brad Maroney, illustrated by Jim Rodgers and lettered by Joshus Cozine.

As the anniversary of the birth of Brother Ghoston—the first of a race of superhumans called Spectrums—approaches, a group of Spectrum teen outsiders in Alabama struggle to find their places in the world. Meanwhile, a fateful meeting at Brother Ghoston’s compound in upstate New York sets an inevitable chain of events in motion.

There are some rather intriguing complexities to The Age #1. Maroney’s premise of the Spectrum race arriving on Earth as the heralding of a new age isn’t new by any means, but the use of colors for those characters makes them stand out even more. There’s also a certain existential approach to the characters, in that none of them are really aware of why they’re different colors or where their powers come from. Maroney doesn’t really give the reader much in the way of explaining that; hopefully he’ll delve into it more fully in coming issues. The issue really feels much more like a set-up of the series to come and doesn’t really give hints to answer its biggest question. That question is where did the Spectrum race come from and what makes Brother Ghoston such a messiah in their eyes.

At first glance, the black and white illustrations feel mundane. When the reader first sees Ghoston as a baby though, his blue color really leaps off the page and provides a remarkable contrast with the starkness of the black and white surrounding it. It’s likely this was a conscious choice by Rodgers (and Maroney) and Rodgers does a fantastic job making the Spectrum race feel different. A sharp red here or a bold yellow there breaks up the monotony of the monochromatic approach, underscoring an outsiders’ mentality for the Spectrum race. Rodgers gets a chance to relay to the reader what it’s like for the Spectrum race through his visuals and it reiterates that they’re really different. A lot of care went into crafting pages rife with detail and Rodgers deserves credit for making the book look intricate despite most of it being relatively simplistic in color.

The Age #1 is an interesting first issue that seeks to determine what it is that goes into tolerating the unknown (and misunderstood). Brother Ghoston is clearly an important figure to both the Spectrum and human races, yet his purpose and motives are largely unknown. Maroney doesn’t really give the reader a lot work with in terms of plot, as The Age #1 really seems to be more about setting up the world as opposed to giving characters a reason for existing in it. Rodgers’ illustrations are very effective and reinforce the absurdity of brightly colored individuals with powers living amongst everyone else. The Age #1 seems to have something in mind to work towards and it likely will come to fruition in the coming issues, even if the first issue feels like it’s mostly setting the table.

The Age #1 is currently available on Comixology.

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