Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cold War #1 Review

Cold War Kids

Co-creator and writer: Christopher Sebela
Co-creator and artist: Hayden Sherman
Publisher: Aftershock
Publication Date: 14 February 2018
Reviewer: Andrew McAvoy

I remember reading the solicits for this title and getting pretty excited. It's fair to say that Aftershock pretty carefully cultivate their choice of books and when they release a new title I always think its worth trying. Let's see if the actual content matched my expectations.

I have to make the point that in terms of plot this is a pretty timely story-line; it is quite on trend and treads similar turf to the new Netflix series Altered Carbon.  It tells the story of a group of humans who seek out life after death by keeping their heads frozen until the day technology could rebuild them, free of disease and death. Turns out though that when they are revived, they’re not handed the keys to a new life, but a gun, body armor and an ultimatum. They have been dumped into a war zone and there are only two outcomes: fight or die.

At a high concept level it sounds like a great pitch. It's the delivery that lets down the end-product though. Let's look at the art first. In terms of colors there are very strange choices made. A single page will often be primarily depicted in one main color, some bleed into a similar color, and the detail depicted by use of broad silhouettes with elements of detail picked out through line work. The end result was packed onto each page, and this meant that I found it very difficult to actually keep track of what was going on and which character was which. That latter point was also made more complicated by the fact that the resurrected characters' faces were covered with a mask; exacerbating the difficulty in distinguishing between characters.

The execution of the story-line was far too dense. I simply found that there was far too much information that I was being hit with for a first issue. The art confusing me made the writing hard to penetrate. This was confounded by the lettering choices, the font selected, and the color scheme for the lettering all combining to make the story detail very hard to process. For example, when the MemTech helmet dialogue kicks in there is a crushed font that I found particularly difficult to read. Elsewhere speech bubbles without a tail directed towards who is speaking (a technique which is sometimes perfectly fine) lost me because of the overall busyness of the pages.

Bits and pieces

A very good concept, which was badly executed. Unfortunately this is likely to be fatal to the success of this series. About half the plot detail, and a clearer and cleaner style of art and lettering would have helped ease readers in and establish a solid foundation through a snappy first issue. Sadly that wasn't what was delivered. Disappointing.


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