Review – Strange Attractors #1 (of 5) (BOOM! Studios)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Greg Scott, Soo Lee.
Release Date: 1st June, 2016

Prior to his DC and Marvel days, Charles Soule came together with Archaia Studios – an imprint of award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios – to release a graphic novel called ‘Strange Attractors’. Clocking in at 128 pages, ‘Attractors’ told the story of one mathematician’s mission to save New York. Fast-forward three years and Soule brings us ‘Attractors’ again, this time as a five-part miniseries. The aim? To not only introduce ‘Attractors’ to a new band of readers, but also to expand upon and flesh out the original story for those already familiar with the narrative.

Will he succeed? That remains to be seen. As someone fresh to the material, ‘Attractors’ is a strange beast to sink your teeth into. Perhaps as a consequence of its graphic novel days, the book unapologetically throws the reader into the thick of the story from the off, with little explanation or introduction to the characters or Soule’s distinct vision of New York. Mathematical concepts and theories abound, as the protagonists discuss chaos theory and complexity analysis in their attempts to understand New York’s extraordinary ability to bounce back in the face of adversity. Strange light beams, a suicide and an unfortunate rodent follow in an utterly bizarre pattern of events leading to the team-up of what I assume will be our main protagonists.

I feel I would be doing the book a disservice to attempt to summarise the plot any further. For me, it is the mystery and intrigue that gives this book its fire. There’s little relatable substance to sink your teeth into, for the time being at least,  but the dialogue is slick and intelligent, and is supported well by artist Greg Scott’s harsh depiction of New York and its inhabitants. Together with the colourists, Scott paints a bleak setting that’s a far cry from the New York we’re used to, but which sets the sombre tone for the series ahead.

For those already familiar with ‘Strange Attractors’, the new content comes at the end in the form of an additional story called ‘Antithesis’. Flashing back to 1981, the story provides some extra insight into the activities of Doctor Spencer Brownfield and adds an extra layer of mystery to the story occurring in present day. There’s a lightness to the colouring provided by Sobreiro that doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the book, but that is perhaps indicative of a more hopeful Brownfield, rather than the weary warrior we meet in the present.

‘Strange Attractors’ will not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a tad high-brow and removed, a bit like the mathematics at its core. However, it’s also fresh and intriguing, and if it can deliver on its potential, could well be worth the investment. For my part, I’d definitely recommend it.

Rating: 3.5/5.

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7f88a929690ecaec98a260de14d61382The writer of this piece was: Claire Stevenson
Claire Tweets from @cookie___raider.

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