Publisher: DC (Young Animal Imprint)
Story: Mikey Way & Shaun Simon
Art: Ilias Kyriazis
Colours: Cris Peter
Letters: Simon Bowland
Release Date: 14th August 2019
Liam James is would-be DJ by night and a care home worker by day. He has a small apartment filled with geeky toys and a plastic sword. Oh and he also seems to have acquired the power of a black hole inside him. Either that or he’s going mad. Or maybe both. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he has also somehow teleported himself to Stonehenge as this issue opens.
Young Animal isn’t an imprint that I’ve had much exposure to in the past, although if this is anything to go by, I may need to remedy that. With a manifesto to explore the themes of relationships between parents and children, Collapser takes an extreme angle by having the protagonist have his mother leave when he was young and presumed dead. Although he has a girlfriend and a seemingly close friend, the lack of ‘family’ shows Liam as quite a lonely individual who is constantly surrounded by others. That said, I adore his attempts to just sit down and have a game with the elderly Mr Edgar.
Flitting from Stonehenge to Giza in scenes more than a little reminiscent of Jumper, there’s a great splash drawing on the dark, occult, and just downright weird that DC can do really well, with everything from Nessie to the Jersey Devil to Nazi Space Lizards… Collapser takes me back and feels more like the Vertigo I remember growing up than the recent Vertigo stories I picked up. To be clear, that’s definitely a good thing. There’s a certain grungy feel to the art and colours here that contrasts starkly with the often clean-cut idealism of the main line DCU. It’s for mature readers, but its young adult mature so features nothing you’d be worried about reading on public transport mature.
Spiralling out of control, Liam ends up attacking someone in the street and finds himself carted off in tight fitting white coat. I’ve always been a sucker for this kind of story and many variations on the theme can found in my movie and book collection. The sense of questioning your sanity and not knowing what is real and imagined. The inability to evaluate your surroundings honestly leaves a creeping sense of doom and genuine discomfort, and tapping into that works really well for me.
From the condescending psychiatrist all too eager to fit Liam into a cookie cutter diagnosis, the world collapses (no pun intended). Aliens, demons, monsters and explosions, oh my! Wave after wave of destruction unfold but amidst it all, the persona of Collapser appears as calm in the eye of the storm. Is he a baddie? By surrendering can he regain some form of control? I don’t know but I’ll certainly be picking up the next issue to find out.
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster