Friday, April 20, 2018

Review - Survival Fetish #1 (@blackmaskstudio)


"...amazing has an expiration date."

Honolulu is--by most accounts--a beautiful city on one of the most beautiful islands on the planet. There's great weather, nice people and really no reason to be inside. That is, unless you're in the Honolulu from Survival Fetish #1 from Black Mask Studios. The issue is written by Patrick Kindlon, illustrated by Antonio Fuso and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Downtown Honolulu is a sniper alley, and Saheer runs it better than anyone. He's a local celebrity for transporting medicine and information across a no-man's land occupied by militias and street gangs. But what people say about you is never the full story, and when the cheers die out Saheer is left with just his anxieties...and his secrets.

The world Kindlon describes in Survival Fetish #1 is a fascinating one. Kindlon infuses the book with a post-apocalyptic sensibility to it in that the citizens of Honolulu are confined to indoor spaces because of the ever-present threat of being sniped. This allows Kindlon to funnel a great narrative through one of (if not) the best runners in this world in Saheer. A day in the life of Saheer gives the readers all the information necessary about Honolulu which is great because then Kindlon isn't tasked with spoon-feeding the reader. The book's opening is especially jarring as it lulls the reader into a false sense of security in that Kindlon parlays a typical routine into the set-up for the book's premise.

Fuso relies on an extraordinarily stark illustrative style. In fact, the entire book is in black and white, providing a sense of grittiness and realism to the situation on display in Honolulu. The approach gives the work a manga flair and also allows Fuso some latitude with using shading effectively. The characters still feel true to life despite the lack of colors throughout, with Fuso emphasizing their facial expressions in an alarmingly effective way despite their simplicity. The panels are also laid out very cleanly despite the variety of insets and overlays.

Credit to Kindlon and Fuso--Survival Fetish #1 is a great start. Saheer is at the top of his game, but that position doesn't come with its share of secrets. Kindlon's script is methodical and informative without giving away too much information to the reader. Fuso's illustrations are a great way to convey the world of fear gripping the streets of Honolulu as a result of the militia and street gangs holding control. Survival Fetish #1 is a solid first issue that offers a new twist on the survival story by giving it a real-world credibility.

Survival Fetish #1 is available now.

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