Indie Comics Spotlight – Real Science Adventures #1, Predator: Hunters #1, and There’s Nothing There #1


By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Real Science Adventures #1

War breeds fascinating relationships and dynamics. The bonds forged during battle are often everlasting and lead to groups of individuals who essentially form running crews. The Flying She-Devils are a running crew forged from war and they’re into something a little different in Real Science Adventures #1 from IDW Publishing. The issue is written by Brian Clevinger, illustrated by Lo Baker and Wook Jin Clark, colored by Anthony Clark, and lettered by Jeff Powell.

A group of Women Airforce Service Pilots banded together after World War II and became the daring Flying She-Devils. Food and fuel are in short supply, but the She-Devils have a plan: take it from Mad Jack, the pirate king of the Pacific. What could go wrong?

Clevinger knows how to write stories that blend together science and humor with Real Science Adventures #1 being no exception to that M.O. Despite the characters involved being part of the Atomic Robo universe, Clevinger doesn’t require that the reader have that backstory to enjoy Real Science Adventures #1. In fact, the characters themselves are each unique and charming in their own ways that the story maintains a sense of fun regardless. Clevinger’s script is very straightforward in its approach, introducing the reader to the characters and their plight. The dialogue exchanges are amusing and emphasize a somewhat carefree nature on the part of the main characters even in the face of what is a somewhat dire situation for them.

The artwork by Baker and Wook Jin Clark is pretty cartoony in its approach. The characters are drawn in a way that doesn’t seek to be realistic and is evocative of the Atomic Robo look and feel. This is a great way for making the book feel more accessible to readers of all ages as Baker and Wook Jin are content to illustrate characters with a sense of whimsy to them. The panels are stacked and laid out quite cleanly, making the book a pretty easy read visually. And Anthony Clark’s colors are largely darker and pay particular attention to the cave setting that most of the issue takes place in.

Real Science Adventures #1 is pretty lighthearted in its approach and setting. The Flying She-Devils are an interesting crew and it will be exciting to see if they can pull off the heist they’re planning. The story itself is a fairly standard caper tale, but Clevinger’s characters are interesting enough where they’ll carry the story and make it exciting. Baker and Wook Jin’s artwork is pretty harmless in its style, even though it adds a youthful flair to the visuals. Real Science Adventures #1 is amusing and entertaining for readers looking for something a little less mainstream.

Real Science Adventures #1 is available now.

Predator: Hunters #1

Aliens are out there. Right now they’re not really bothering us, but if/when they arrive on Earth, it could be something we have to contend with. One of the most prolific aliens in media is the Predator and the character has made a name for itself by terrorizing other civilizations. The tables are turned in Predator: Hunters #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Chris Warner, illustrated by Francisco Ruiz Velasco, and lettered by Michael Heisler.

Space aliens have been coming to Earth for centuries — but not with any message of brotherhood or peace. They’re here to hunt the toughest, most dangerous humans they can find. Only now, their former prey have teamed up against them. Predators, watch your backs!

Warner is eager to subvert the norm when it comes to the Predators in Predator: Hunters #1. The typical Predator story involves them hunting and eviscerating any humans in their paths so it’s refreshing to see this approach where the humans are hunting the Predators. And Warner isn’t shy about explaining that approach to the reader as most of the dialogue exchanges are between the members of the newly-formed hunting party. Many first issues fall into an expository trap and while Predator: Hunters #1 does to an extent, Warner lessens the blow by having each member of the hunting party briefly recap their past experience with the Predators. Funneling the narrative through Enoch Nakai is a nice throwback to the history of the franchise as well, seeing as how he was featured in Predator: Big Game from years ago.

Velasco’s artwork is marvelous in its simplicity. The Predator has always had a fierce appearance that Velasco nails in Predator: Hunters #1 by emphasizing its feral nature that’s evidenced by how elegantly it eviscerates its opponents. The human characters are a lot cleaner (obviously), yet Velasco doesn’t shy away from giving them somewhat stereotypical looks befitting of a team of Predator hunters. Velasco illustrates everyone else with sharp and bold lines that give the humans some visual weight when going up against the more beastly Predator. And the backgrounds (jungle locales especially) are given just enough detail that the reader feels as if they’re being hunted by the Predator alongside the humans.

Predator: Hunters #1 takes a new approach in terms of how it handles the Predator and its typical human prey. The team of hunters who has formed is hell-bent on tracking and killing predators if for nothing else to get revenge for everyone they’ve lost to them. Warner’s approach breathes fresh air into the property and adds an air of uncertainty about the outcome for all the players involved. Velasco’s illustrations are fantastic and beautifully capture the snarling and visceral nature of the Predator characters. Predator: Hunters #1 is definitely a set-up issue, but the payoff at the end could be much different than readers have typically expected from a work involving Predators.

Predator: Hunters #1 is available now.

There’s Nothing There #1

The lifestyles of the rich and famous are something that very few everyday people can really fathom, primarily because they seem so unattainable. A lot of what goes with that culture is an approach to life rife with hedonism. Sometimes that hedonism leads to perverse after-effects that could border on supernatural as in There’s Nothing There #1 from Black Mask Studio. The issue is written by Patrick Kindlon, illustrated by Maria Llovet, and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Celebrity-socialite Reno Selleti doesn’t believe in very much beyond Instagram comments, hipster drugs, and the flash of paparazzi cameras, so when a friend invites her to an Eyes Wide Shut-type party, she goes along mostly for the lulz. But the joke doesn’t feel as funny when she realizes it’s an actual occult ritual, and suddenly she’s seeing things… Horrifying apparitions trying to warn her. “RUN.”

Kindlon launches into There’s Nothing There #1 by emphasizing the selfie-obsessed culture that Instagram celebrities cherish as the core underlying thread. His approach is sound in that it let’s the reader know right away what kind of character Reno is (and the people she surrounds herself with). The dialogue is very quick and entertaining as well, offer glimpses into that culture through extremely biting statements that also bite the speaker – the exchange about a Long Island renovation’s value is definitely a first-world problem. Where Kindlon excels the most though is the horror subtext underlying the entire issue that is spun as a celebrity breakdown. It’s apparent that the masquerade-turned-orgy that opens the issue was something more and Kindlon’s exploration of that will make the series interesting.

Llovet’s artistic approach is very loose and relaxed, providing the book with a sense that everything is being sketched out. The book’s premise is predicated on the rich and famous being just that and Llovet does a pretty solid job of rendering that mentality. Characters are illustrated with a loose attention to physique that effectively establishes the style of the characters themselves. There are a couple of pages in the middle of the book that very graphically represent an orgy and might turn some readers off, but Llovet handles the sequence well. And it’s almost as if Llovet is looking to simulate a watercolor approach in the book in that there’s vaguely colored shapes throughout that symbolize people and objects.

There’s Nothing There #1 is a very intriguing first issue. Reno is a seemingly vapid lead character who might be getting into something quite a bit more terrifying than not taking UberBLACK. Kindlon’s script does suffer from some pacing issues, but is otherwise pretty solid. Llovet’s illustrations are appropriate as the amorphous approach reflects the fluidity of the characters’ personalities. There’s Nothing There #1 looks to parlay a reality show culture into something with more of a horror undertone.

There’s Nothing There #1 is available now.

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