Review of Raygun from Alterna
Article by: Mark Willis
Have you ever started reading a book or a comic and then get so sucked into it that you can’t put it down. Then out of nowhere you end up having something else interrupt you so that you can’t finish? As a parent, I’m used to never having a moment of piece. I rarely get time to get through a book in one sitting. That feeling of interrupted drive is how I would sum up Raygun into a simple little package. Raygun is the book that I really wanted to read and had put it at the top of my priority list when I brought it home from my local comic book store but the end interrupted me before I could really get too far into it. Before I get too far into this review, let me give you a quick overview of this book without giving away any big spoilers.
The book starts out simple enough. In 1912, a scientist is working on his experiment while police bag away at his door. He is trying to keep his experiment away from people, so he flips the switch and it appears as if the building blows up. This brings us to the present day where a young boy named Matthew is being sent off to live with his father who he has never met. After moving in with his estranged father, Michael goes to a new school where he is immediately picked on and made into an outsider. The book focuses a lot on the conflict between Matthew and his main antagonizer. Towards the end, Matthew gets picked on by the bully during a field trip and ends up getting locked in a museum for the night. It is here that Matthew discovers something that puts him on the run. And then….
Wait, there is no and then… This is actually where the book ended. Not fair. I had all of this build up for the character and then “The End”. NOOOOoooooooo…….. I realize that this happens all the time in comic books. The first issue is a good build up for future issues. The one problem I have is a book leaving you at the peak of a climax and then “see you in a few months”. I guess I’m more forgiving with this with some of the other publishers like BOOM! and IDW and Dynamite because I know I only have to wait a couple of weeks before I can pick the story back up. With some of these smaller comic companies I want more of a conclusion that leaves me waiting for the next issue a few months from now rather than leaving me feeling empty inside. I truly felt a little robbed because I didn’t know what was going to happen.
Now, while I have gone on a little tirade regarding the end, I do want to note that this is a HUGE positive for this book. I truly cared about not getting more story. Do you know how many times I’ve bought a book from a smaller publisher and just couldn’t care about reading the next issue whenever it came out. Right now I’m on pins and needles in anticipation of the next issue. From a person like me that reads so many comic books, it is a rare thing that someone has caught my attention like Gregory Schoen has done with this book. One of the things that I believe was extremely important that this author did with this storyline was the portrayal of Matthew throughout the book. Too many times I have seen a book or a storyline with a weaker character in conflict with a bully and the weak character is just a victim. At no point in the story did I ever perceive Matthew as a victim. Yes, I do have sympathy for him. Yes, he was the weaker person. No, he wasn’t a victim. Life happens to all of us. For some of us, life is better. For others of us, life is hard. That is how I saw Matthew. He is the person who has had a bad hand dealt to him and he is just dealing with it. While Matthew did get bullied, I think the authors choice to have him fight back is key to this plot. It shows that in the next couple of books we should see his character grow and that he will not just accept things as they happen. That is how to develop a really strong storyline; establish from the beginning that the character will not just accept things and will fight to the end.
As with all of my reviews, I do love to talk about the artwork. As with thee storyline, the art is perfect. Alonso Molina not only provides us with great drawings of the characters, but I would get lost in the background. Each frame one every page was just so expertly done. I’m not saying that each frame was detailed to the Nth degree, I’m saying that each frame was detailed appropriately. What does this mean…. When the focus is supposed to be on the characters and what is happening between them, Alonso Molina is able to focus the reader on the action. When we are given an establishing scene for the location or the point in time, Alonso Molina is able to give us some spectacular scenes that make the reader just study the page. This really is a fantastic pairing of writer and artist. Gregory Schoen brought us a great story and Alonso Molina was able to bring it to life.
Raygun #1 was released on March 9th, 2016 and can be found digitally on either the Alterna website or Comixology. Issue #2 is also available and came out May 11th. As an added bonus, these book only carry a cover price of $2.99 so you will not be disappointed and the ICBR highly recommends you putting these books on your must read list.
Here are a few preview pages of book 1 for your enjoyment...