Review - Codebreakers #1

Geeks are chic these days. The resurgence of comic books in mainstream pop culture means it's ok to wear your t-shirt that lists the real names of all the X-Men alongside their mutant names. This also means that it's trendy and cool to write about geeks or those with intelligence over braun. One of the latest from BOOM! Studios is Codebreakers #1, a look at the employees of the government and their efforts to keep the country safe from dangers domestic and abroad.

Written by Carey Malloy and featuring art by Scott Godlewski (covers by Julian Totino Tedesco and Brett Weldele) Codebreakers #1 follows Stanley Grouse, the youngest cryptanalyst in FBI history. He's your normal, run-of-the-mill genius who seems to be drastically underachieving (his mom thinks he's just a computer repairman). Everything goes according to plan, until one day he finds that his workday isn't quite as typical as previous days. What follows is actually an interesting espionage thriller of sorts that has Stan's friends desperately searching to find his whereabouts.

The first issue is actually a pretty standard first issue. The characters are introduced, including Lindsay Abbott, the sexy cryptologist who has a knack for reading body language (yet doesn't pick up on Stan's obvious lust for her), Malcolm Whiteweather, a mathematician and creator of the asymmetric cryptography model used for decoding the puzzles and Donald Foster, the Alpha team handler and Ted Danson lookalike. The group is responsible for keeping the country safe and the daily banter is there, and there really isn't much exciting about geeks discussing cryptography.

Things pick up when Stan receives an email from Bryce Larkin containing the Intersect...wait. Sorry. Anyways, Stan mysteriously disappears in what is apparently a suicide, but Foster knows better. Donald takes his thoughts to his boss who doesn't quite think that there's anything foul afoot. Donald, being the rogue character he is, decides to mount his own investigation into the disappearance of Stan. The issue ends with Donald, Lindsay and Malcolm preparing to mount an international search for Stan.

I'd be lying if I said that the story is very reminiscent of Chuck, but as I mentioned earlier with geek being in these days I can imagine we'll see lots of superheroes that rely on their intelligence and social awkwardness to save the day. Godlweski's art feels right with the story. There's an almost 3-D like quality to the illustrations and I really like the vibe it adds to the story. Malloy's writing style is sort of a cryptological adventure in itself as he doesn't give you all the details at first. He gives you enough to stay intrigued (which is really just good storytelling) and as you're reading it you sort of feel like a cryptographer yourself.

Check out some interiors below. The book is in stores TODAY.