Indie Comics Spotlight: Next Testament, The Accelerators, Doc Unknown


by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Next Testament #1
A splash of color is often enough to make any room a lot less boring. When color splashes you, well, the results aren’t quite as decorative and may be a lot more violent. Which version of color splashing do you think Clive Barker will rely on in Next Testament #1 from BOOM! Studios. The issue is written by Clive Barker and Mark Miller, with art by Haemi Jang and letters by Steve Wands.

Mr. Desmond is an entrepreneur, who uses his wealth to throw lavish ceremonies, raise his children and search the world for rare, religious artifacts. Fortunately for him, he manages to find the one he was looking for. Unfortunately for the rest of Earth, the artifact he found contained Wick, the Father of Colors. Wick wants only one thing since awakening: an offering and the chance to announce himself.

Barker’s first issue moves pretty briskly considering the fact that it seems little happens. That’s a little deceiving though, considering the entirety of the series is set up thanks to Mr. Desmond’s fevered digging and treasure hunting. Wick is sufficiently frightening primarily based on the last page of the issue, showing to the reader that he intends to scorch the Earth in order to achieve his goal. Mr. Desmond comes across as a little fanatical which works for the book, but his children Tristan and Elspeth seem to be cut from a different cloth.

Jang’s art is pretty ho-hum until Wick is shown. Most of the issue is an overweight Mr. Desmond without a shirt, which isn’t exactly the most appealing sight in the world. Wick on the other hand is technicolor coat, illustrated with a body similar to that of Dr. Manhattan, only more colors than just blue. There’s one particular full-page panel that’s very simplistic while also foreboding, offering the reader a glimpse into how dark this series may get.

Barker knows horror and while this book doesn’t appear to be sheer terror, there’s definitely potential for some bad things to happen. Wick is frightening and has no regard for the safety of anyone around him. Mr. Desmond shares a similar mindset, only without the immense powers. Tristan and Elspeth will play a much larger role down the road for sure (despite their rather brief appearance in the first issue) and whether or not the world can handle Wick remains to be seen.

Next Testament #1 is in stores now.

The Accelerators #1
Time travel is one of science’s mysteries, yet to be solved in 2013. What if it had been solved and made possible, only the solution already happened in 1965? How long would it take people to realize that time travel was possible? Blue Juice Comics tackles that idea in The Accelerators #1. The issue is written by R.F.I. Porto, with illustrations by Gavin P. Smith, colored by Tim Yates and lettered by Crank!.

Lex is a doctor with quite possibly the only donut better than one from Krispy Kreme and that’s one that affords her the ability to travel through time. Not anytime though; only forward in time. As such, she’s jumping further and further into the future to escape a pursuer who wants to destroy the donut and all her research. Apparently, further in the future, gladiatorial games are staged, bringing together all manner of warrior from a variety of eras.

Porto offers a somewhat fresh take on an older concept. Time travel has definitely seen its fair share of stories, but making one where characters can only move forward adds a built-in layer of restriction. Unfortunately, little is revealed about Lex as a character, such as why she’s being chased, how the device was created or even why it was created. Granted, this is a first issue and there’s plenty of room for the story to unfold; there just doesn’t seem to be much in the way of details that really grab the reader.

Smith’s art is appropriate for the story, finished with a sheen of sorts that fits. Most of the issue features Lex running, which Smith handles very well. The book is packed to the brim with panels though, with some pages numbering upwards of eight panels. Such busy pages sort of distracts from the story and isn’t entirely on Smith. The time travel effects literally looks electric, helping to reinforce the notion that the characters are flinging themselves through time at a rapid pace.

From a series standpoint, The Accelerators looks to be headed towards the battle aspect, pitching the different warriors against one another. The first issue really just tells the reader that time travel into the future is possible without further expanding upon the notion. Again, the story will likely unfold as it progresses, but the first issue really doesn’t say a whole lot about the series in general.

The Accelerators #1 is available now via comiXology.

Doc Unknown #1
It would be easy to say that every question has an answer. There are some questions though that aren’t so easily responded to–these fall under the unknown umbrella. One of those mysteries is a character in Doc Unknown #1 from Believe In Comics. The issue is written by Fabien Rangel, Jr., illustarted by Ryan Cody and lettered by Ed Brisson. “The Ghost and the Time Machine” back-up story is written by Rangel, Jr. and illustrated by Cody.

Doc Unknown is a hero in a Gate City that really needs them. The latest villain to leave his mark is the former heavyweight champ of Gate City and he also just so happens to be large and green. The two square off over an artifact with the power to revive inanimate objects. More than that, Doc Unknown seems to have an ability to talk to ghosts, guided throughout the entire attempted caper by one giving him “recommendations” tantamount to his survival.

As far as plot goes, Rangel, Jr. has clearly infused Doc Unknown with a lot of Batman. Not just any Batman, but Batman: The Animated Series to be specific. Doc Unknown acts (and is feared) like Batman while the villain looks exactly like Killer Croc. They have a rather familiar banter, right down to Doc Unknown offering explanations bordering on platitudes. He’s got a “crime is bad” vibe that he’s attempting to leverage against the enemy, despite the fact that he doesn’t know the entirety of what Gate City can conjure up.

Cody’s art is spot on when it comes to the story. It’s a very art deco style; again, reminiscent of Batman: The Animated Series. There are some fairly creative panel layouts, with Cody relying on standard boxes and insets. There are some great full-page works as well, really emphasizing the crime fighting of Doc Unknown. The flashback panels have an old-timey feel to them as well, helping to keep time in perspective.

Fans of the superhero, serial detective stories might find a lot to like in Doc Unknown #1. The lead character is competent as a hero and has a decent motivation. Whether or not there’s a grander plot in play remains to be seen, but at least the first issue has some interesting starts to it. There does appear to be an intergalactic element to it and fans of books like Atomic Robo might really be into Doc Unknown #1.

Doc Unknown #1 is currently available over at comiXology. Be sure to check out the book’s site here.

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