Change #1 Review
By Zak Edwards
December 23, 2012 - 11:30
Writer(s): Ales Kot
Penciller(s): Morgan Jeske
Change #1 did something that hasn’t happened to me in a very long time, something I fear is becoming rarer in comics today and makes Image Comics possibly more important now than ever before. Change made me look up a creator I had never heard of before to see what else they have done. Running across new names in comics isn’t super rare, I know, but encountering an indie book with credits of brand new creators is increasingly so, it feels. People ‘cut their teeth’ in outlets like webcomics, on blogs (hmm...), and other means. Publishers with large resources are increasingly closing up the openings, taking fewer risks with talent like Ales Kot and Morgan Jeske, the writer and artist of Change respectively, who are new and eager to prove themselves. Here, they’ve done exactly that.
Change tells the story of a screenwriter, a rapper, and an astronaut as the world comes closer to a ‘reset.’ From there, things become increasingly difficult to describe. The characters are immediate, in terms of fully realized from the outset and fairly up front, and become instant points to anchor on. And while the writing tries too hard at times, a particular sequence explicitly states just what ‘this story’ is about, followed by an explanation of why someone has black roses and fresh lettuce in a pot together. It induces little eye-rolling, but the rest of the book more than makes up for this overreaching. At once heavily laden with meaning but very precise, the repeated words and symbols throughout show a writer who knows what they’re doing. This book isn’t going to fizzle out in the next couple of issues before fading out, there is intention behind everything, not written with a where are we going attitude. No, Kot knows what he’s doing and the fresh faced idealism, while tempered in obvious care and attention, makes a book that delights and intrigues. And maybe it’s the blending of the usual LA story with larger science fiction concerns, and how well these disparaging points come together, but the book works. Simple as that. It works on multiple levels, emotionally, intellectually, and draws readers in with a blend of mystery and excellent characterization. Moments like the funeral pay off as the scene builds (pay off from characters within the first few pages of the book! That’s not easy!) while the slow burning mysteries keep me wondering. Next issue cannot come quickly enough while I go now to hunt down a copy of Wild Children, Kot’s other work he did this year. This is a writer to watch and a series to get lost in.
The reason, and I’m ashamed to say it, I picked up Change off the shelf was that the art looked like the artist of Manhattan Projects, Nick Pitarra. While Pitarra’s pretty new to the scene himself, their styles do line up and not to any detriment. Morgan Jeske, a Vancouver based illustrator, pumps out art that is just as deliberate as Kot’s writing. Nothing feels superfluous or attention-grabbing, from the initial coloring and subsequent shift to the marks on the lead female’s face, everything is part of a plan. Throwaway panels tie in wonderfully, truly showing just how comics aren’t storyboards for films, but a medium unto themselves.
Grade: 9.5/10 This work is amazing, through and through, and you should check it out.
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