Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Van Jensen
Artist: Pete Woods
Release Date: 29th June, 2016
Confession time; I love conspiracy theories. From the plausible – JFK – to the downright bonkers – David Icke’s Reptilians – they’ve always held a strange fascination for me. And the notion that the world is guided by a shadowy elite hell bent on creating a global slave race unaware of some hidden reality is one that has propelled everything from The X-Files to Men In Black to The Matrix in popular culture.
Regardless how how one feels about such claims, there is no doubt that it is an idea ripe with potential – some might argue done to death, but not me – and in this new series from Dark Horse Comics, we learn that The Illuminati themselves a merely a front for The Nine Families, who are the real power players behind the scenes, with all the political assassinations, terrorist acts and collateral damage being part of their larger power struggle to control the planet, its resources and its people.
After an opening scrawl that describes the nine circles of control we meet Grahame, a member of the ‘Mars’ family, as he tries to handle the fallout from a “Roswell grade cock-up” that leads to hundreds of deaths. Helping with the task is Jason, an angry, sweary Bugbear and his team of ‘Scrubbers’, Grey Aliens with a taste for doritos and mountain dew who have made a home here helping to manage public perceptions with their handy mind-wiping skills.
This might lead you to think that the series is a dark, dour story but in the dialogue and characters personalities writer Van Jensen injects a healthy dose of humour and snappy banter that helps endear the reader to the characters quickly. And he couldn’t have chosen a better collaborator than former Deadpool artist Pete Woods, whose fluid, detailed art makes this menagerie of aliens, cryptids and future tech fly off the page; it’s crisp, shows great design and propels the story brilliantly.
There’s a lot to take in, and this first issue could potentially lose marks for the exposition-heavy nature of its world-building, but when it moves at such a swift pace and is so incredibly well-realised as this it becomes more intriguing than intrusive – for me personally, at least. It aims big and promises much, but it has all the hallmarks of a classic series in the making.
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The writer of this piece was: Chris Downs
Chris Tweets from @ChrisDownsy