Monday, November 16, 2015

Review - Just Another Sheep #1 (@ActionLab)


"It means peace. Now like I keep saying, I don't want any trouble fellas."

Every era has its bugaboo. The 70s had disco, the 90s had Y2K on the horizon and the 60s had war. Lots of war that people didn't want the US involved in. It led to all sorts of counter-culture movements and approaches, but few accurately mirror what Action Lab has in mind for Just Another Sheep #1. The issue is written by Mat Heagerty, illustrated by JD Faith, colored by Jon Cairns, lettered by Ed Brisson and flatted by Renee Keyes.

In 1969 a timid teen sets out on a road trip. His goal? Find out the origins of his bizarre super human abilities. Always the follower, his trip is derailed when he befriends a group of extremist war protesters.

The 1960s were a very politically charged time with combustible elements mixing together with often explosive results. Heagerty taps into that sense of paranoia and fear very well, using the main character Banning as the eyes for the narration. Banning is uncomfortable primarily because he has a secret ability that he's seeking to cure, yet he becomes embroiled in the politics of the time as well. Heagerty puts him in a situation where he gets caught up in the moment and possibly becomes "just another sheep," but it's clear there's more to him than most other protesters. The one minor gripe about the issue is there really isn't context given for Banning's situation, as it seems he's the only one who's unique in many ways.

Faith's pencils match the atmosphere of the 60s very well. Characters sport physiques replete with clean lines that harken back to a different era of illustrations and character design. There are plenty of 60s inspired designs as well, all of which tap into the "groovy" style of the times. There's a particularly psychedelic two-page spread that really emphasizes that style and tone, with characters seemingly floating through space and time. Cairns' colors further this effect, peppering in the requisite neon colors throughout that bolster the anything-goes approach of the era.

Just Another Sheep #1 is an interesting title that cleverly subverts the concept that the book is named after. There's a lot more to Banning than meets the eye and his role in an emotional time will be a lot more than just peaceful protester. Heagerty aptly captures the era in question, infusing it with characters who care about caring. Faith's illustrations are clean and feel era-appropriate as well, demonstrating a wide range of emotions relevant to their plights. Just Another Sheep #1 is a pretty interesting book that clearly has grander ambitions for further along in the series.

Just Another Sheep #1 is available now.

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