Review: Comeback #1

This was one eagerly-anticipated comic, but thankfully (and it is Thanksgiving), it more than lives up to the hype. Time traveling framed by some vaguely noirish circumstances is a combination that has certainly been done before — particularly by Hollywood — but the way Brisson and Walsh present it here is far from stale. On the contrary, we get some oddly compelling main characters and nicely handled exposition, adding up to a lightweight and thoroughly enjoyable first issue.

Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Michael Walsh

Reconnect is more than a company – it’s an opportunity for good. Reconnect can reverse tragedy by sending agents into the past to rescue your mother, your wife, your brother or father or child moments before their untimely death. Mark is one of these agents. He brings the rescued from the past to the present, to a blessed reunion with their loved ones. He saves lives…or does he?

So there’s a company that goes into the past to save people’s lives yadda yadda yadda. The premise is something we’ve seen before, and most of us know pretty much how it works — which is why it’s kind of refreshing, in this first issue, that there’s very little concept-related exposition to be had. Framing the first scene from the perspective of somebody who is being brought to the future by said company in order to (presumably) save his life, Brisson and Walsh skip over the technobabble and focus on the sheer terror of the guy in question — since, after all, he has no way knowing that anybody is (supposedly) acting in his interests.

Of course, things don’t quite go off as planned, but it’s just another day at work for Seth and Mark — employees of this company and, so far as we can tell, fairly regular Joes. The interactions between them are very natural, and their personalities come across economically as they go about business. That said, there’s also a lot going on in this issue that’s not made crystal clear to the reader, and it’s a pretty bold move — especially for a miniseries. There’s something up with Seth, for one, not to mention an odd sequence of events which unfolds in the issue’s last pages, but Brisson and Walsh don’t push the suspense too hard. What we’re getting are puzzle pieces, and the understanding that they’re going to add up to something eventually… once we spend a little more time with these characters.

Michael Walsh’s art is understated but arresting, getting at the most important detail in a panel — a smirk, a small gesture — and saying so much more with it than you would expect. The facial expressions are particularly effective in that sense, getting across emotion as well as a feeling of missing data, like these characters are reacting to more than just what we’re seeing at the moment. Background details are handled with a similarly light touch. Sometimes it only takes one little thing — a smudge of graffiti on a wall, or a mask sitting on a shelf — to establish the right mood, and Walsh’s choices are masterly.

Jordie Bellaire’s colours are likely the most striking features about the art, vibrant and various as they are, and teamed up with the sparser art style the overall feel comes very close to retro — like a Technicolor spy thriller from the late 50s. As in an older movie, there’s a lot of talking going on, but the colours here keep the pages lively even when there isn’t much action being portrayed.

All told, “Comeback” #1 is an intriguing as well as a visually interesting first issue — and it may be all the more great for not lunging at our throats right off the bat. Of course, if you’re looking for a series that does just that, “Comeback” may disappoint you. But there’s something to be said for a high-concept thriller that takes its time, gradually drawing you into the story as it establishes the characters and the overall atmosphere. Based on this first issue, it’s going to be a lot of fun watching these puzzles pieces come together.

Final Verdict: 8.9 — Buy

About The AuthorMichelle WhiteMichelle White is a writer, zinester, and aspiring Montrealer.

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