Writer: Simon Spurrier / Artist: Chris Wildgoose, André May / Boom! Studios
The most striking thing to me about Alienated, the latest sci-fi series from Boom! Studios, is its incredible structure: the pacing of parallel narratives and dialogs, the use of principle colors, the layered construction of each page, the very cadence of the story itself. From the very first page of the comic, Alienated draws you into the lives of its three leading characters: Samuel, Samantha, and Samir. Each of them is presented as a different type of social outcast who by chance or fate manage to stumble upon something bizarre in the woods that inexplicably links the trio involuntarily. It’s a familiar set up, but one that is executed so perfectly and expanded upon so immediately in the proceeding pages that it’s hard not to fall in love with the story immediately.
Spurrier’s writing, Wildgoose’s art, May’s colors, and Campbell’s letters work together perfectly to capture the three very different perspectives of the main characters. Samuel’s ennui at being the new kid in town who wants nothing more to be seen and notice is helped by Spurrier’s tired internal narration, the glazed over eyes that Wildgoose illustrated, all accented by May with a rich navy blue. With Samantha, you see the anxious of wanting to leave as Spurrier uses a short staccato with her dialog as Wildgoose showcases with a quite determination that is brought together with May’s use of emerald green. And finally, Samir embodies a desperate plea to fit in as Spurrier intentionally juxtaposes his external dialog in conflict with his inner narration as the art shows trying to be a little extra all with a red accent. All of this to say within eight pages, we have a crystal clear understanding of the characters and how they have been alienated and when they start to interact, they retain a strong individuality and immediate spark a strange sense of kinship that create a solid anchor for the narrative.
It’s a normal premise that quickly gets injected with a perfect dose of science fiction that embodies the best parts of the genre. Spurrier and Wildgoose leverage the speculative elements of the world to slowly tease and unravel the different social dynamics at play, all while setting the stage for something grander. Each page is constructed with a very deliberate sense of care, and the end product is a very powerful first issue that will immediately grab your attention.
9.7 “Internal Dialogs” out of 10