Story: Zac Thompson, Donny Cates
Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Andy Clarke
Colorist: Dan Browne
Letterer: Charles Pritchet
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Review by Greg Brothers
Way back on Free Comic Book Day I was told that there was this new book from the minds of Donny Cates and Zac Thompson. Being huge fans of each of the writers, I of course had to check it out. Thankfully the FCBD issue got me even more excited for Relay #1, which is out this week.
We meet William and Jad who work for The Relay. The Relay is a large monument type thing that lands on a planet and then lays down edicts and laws that the citizens must adapt to. Hank Donaldson is the man who creates The Relay, and, although little is known about him, he is worshiped by many and questioned by some. Nothing more is known about the man other than he is allegedly still alive, and, once he is found, all will be right in the universe.
While it’s a sci-fi setting, the subject matter is very much based on the ideas of colonization and religion. Anyone who has studied the history of colonization knows that when a country invaded another area many times the colonized country lost parts of its culture. It is an element that is an intriguing part of Relay #1.Thompson does an excellent job of not being heavy handed with the critique of either. One reason it does not come off as heavy handed is that the main protagonist is an obvious supporter of the task ahead of him and his team. Because of that, both sides are presented pretty evenly.
Clarke’s art is breathtaking at times. The amount of detail in the panels and on the faces of the characters allows for easy recognition of the emotions. At no point do any of the panels feel too big. Instead Clarke’s decision to focus on small areas and groups helps to keep the feel of the story grounded and focused. The same can be said for the coloring of the book as it is absent of the bright neon that plague to many sci-fi books. Instead the colors are muted and do not distract from other elements of the story.
Verdict: Buy it.
Relay #1 has a different feel that many other sci-fi books. While the idea of colonization isn’t necessarily new in sci-fi, the way that Thompson presents it here seems unique. The detailed panels really help to define the worlds that they are on but are not overwhelming. The layout of the panels is easy to follow, making for an easy and enjoyable read.