Writer: James Tynion IV
Illustrator: Eryk Donovan
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom! Studios
A Review by Greg Brothers
Every week literally hundreds of books hit the shelves at local shops or become available for download via various apps. As a reader I am always looking for new books that grab my attention. Sometimes it is the solicit, or sometimes, as in the case with Eugenic #1, it is the creative team. James Tynion IV is one of those creators who no matter what the subject matter I enjoy reading. So, when I saw that he had been working on Eugenic #1 for the better part of two years with Artist Eryk Donovan, I was in.
Eugenic #1 takes place in the year 2037, 15 years after the Mississippi Delta Virus has started. Since that time millions of people have died, and any births have resulted in still births. Doctor Cyrus Crane has worked tiredly in that time to find a cure. Finally, in the year 2037 he has found a cure, but at what cost?
Eugenic #1 is driven completely by the character of Doctor Cyrus Crane. He is in what feels like about 90% of the panels. And it feels at times he has about 90% of the dialogue. In other words, he talks a lot. The first third of the book is used to build Crane up as a humble hero who is happy that he has found a cure. He has selflessly given that cure to the people, making no money on it. As we find out later though, his motive might not be as pure as we were lead to believe.
The turn is something that I saw coming as the book went on. And, this is a testament to the art and writing of the creative team. The way that Crane speaks and especially Donovan’s art drops clues throughout. Unfortunately, it is one particular speech where my feelings for Eugenic #1 turned. The speech is up there with any classic supervillain speech, as he explains his actions. But we are expected to think of Crane as a hero who is saving the world. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe Tynion IV is trying to show the readers how one little moment can turn someone. I’m not sure but either way it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Donovan’s art on the other hand is beautiful. The color choices, the character designs, everything just works. There is this nice balance between panels that show the hope and happiness versus the despair of people trying to survive. As I mentioned before, in several panels he tips the upcoming results with facial details. Since the story takes place in the near future, he does an excellent job adding technical advances that are believable.
Wait and See. Eugenic #1 has some serious flaws in the storytelling. I worry how the story is going to advance and be resolved in just three issues when the first issue was all about the set up. In some lesser writer’s hand, I would have blown the rest of the series off. However, Tynion IV is a brilliant writer, and I hope this was just a slow start of the series and not a total miss.