“The Paradigm Shift, part one”
Collider, no. 1
Vertigo Books, July 2013
Simon Oliver & Robbi Rodriguez
With: Rico Renzi & Steve Wands
Featuring: Nathan Fox
Months ago, when Karen Berger stepped down from DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, I believed that the imprint was essentially done-for. My suspicion was that Vertigo would move more into DC-proper publishing and eventually dissolve. Instead, the house seems to have run in the opposite direction, away from Swamp Thing and John Constantine and closer to the spirit of autonomy that the imprint made itself famous for.
AnyANYway, Collider # 1 is very good. This is a good comic book, I insist that you read it. It made me laugh. Out loud. In public. Do you know how many comic books make me laugh? Just a few. So I bought this comic book and the creative team bought itself some time. Let’s say issue # 5 rolls around and I no longer find it engaging: no harm done! The series came out with a strong first issue, nothing can take that away from Oliver, Rodriguez & Co.
I do like artist Robbi Rodriguez. If memory serves, I first encountered his work on the superhero comic book Uncanny X-Force. His lines are razor sharp, his spot-blacks are bold but not overpowering and his use of shading dots to fill out the mid-tone warms my evil heart. Rodriguez plays fast and loose with human anatomy which is fine by me. It gives his characters an almost liquid sense of motion. And motion is key here.
This comic is about the physical laws of reality coming undone. In some ways it helps that the artwork hazes the boundaries between objective normalcy and divergent reality.
The characters are all sharply drawn, both literally and figuratively. They all have clearly distinctive personalities (and shapes) that suggest the world around them as well as the diversity of opinion about how to navigate that world.
Plot wise, this debut issue does the number one thing that I believe all debut issues of ongoing series should do: it presents a microcosm conflict that the protagonist (or team) solves in the same installment. This introduction is how the audience knows what makes this group of characters distinct, showing us how these characters normally manage conflicts before asking the audience to commit to a longer, multipart story. This is essential for storytelling in serial fiction and I like to reward projects who do it right.