Writer: Dennis Culver
Colorist: Lauren Perry
Letterer: Dave Dwonch
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
Burnouts #1 introduces us to Andy, a nerdy high school misfit who just wants to get along with the cool kids. He sets his sights on a party with no parental supervision, but his friend cautions him that the party life leads to being homeless and crazy like the Roach brothers, who are always getting into trouble.
That night, Andy defies parents and friends, goes to the party, tries a toke, and sees everyone at the party being possessed by aliens. The Roach brothers and a couple of others show up and start bashing people before they reveal to Andy that they defend the world against the aliens that can only be seen when someone gets high. Andy doesn’t want to join these stoner defenders, but then his problem gets a little too close to home.
The premise of Burnouts is one of those pitches that you come across and see that it has a lot of potential but could easily try to do too much and derail into a boring hot mess. However, this kickoff issue is anything but that. The storytelling works very smoothly with the jarring intro scene to the cliffhanger at the end. Andy feels very relatable in that he’s doing well in life but wants to see a little more excitement. Who didn’t feel the need to be accepted by the cool high school kids even just a little bit?
And through the tight storytelling and the relatable characters, the concept of stoner alien hunters is swimmingly executed. It’s got the right blend of humor, excitement, and drama that makes it a quick and entertaining read. When I got to the end of the book, I knew I had to keep going. I want to know more about who these alien hunters are based on the brief glimpses we get of them, and you couldn’t end with a better cliffhanger to get readers to come back.
The artwork uses bold lines and colors to make the pages pop, but there’s just the right amount of minimalism that includes only the important details that each panel needs. The aliens aren’t going to haunt your dreams any time soon, but their otherworldly nonchalance in possessing humans makes them intriguing antagonists. Points also go to the art that allows me to use that world “pointillism” to describe the alien eyes.
Verdict: Buy it.
I was thoroughly impressed by Burnouts #1, and I know I will have a lot of fun continuing this series. It’s the mashup of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ghostbusters, Dazed and Confused, and Superbad that you didn’t ask for but didn’t know you needed until now.