I loved DC’s Vertigo imprint. Sandman, Preacher, Hellblaizer. Dang it but those were golden times in comics. Sophisticated and compelling storytelling. Well it seems that Image comics is the new Vertigo. Except that it isn’t new. This has been happening for quite a few years now. More and more it seems like Image is the place for smart creator owned comics. Raffaele Ienco’s Sci-Fi comic Mechanism is just such a find.
Mechanism is like a grown up version of the ROM comic that just came out. Earth is invaded by an alien army species which the surviving humans have dubbed the Geckos. And it appears the Geckos’ masters are also terraforming Earth’s climate trying to make the planet wetter with a constant rain drenching the landscape. In this dire environment we find retired Sgt Horus Banks, 102nd Heavy Mechanized Army division and his faithful dog Pepper breaking quarantine to scavenge for food. There is no doubt that Horus is struggling with some inner demons on top of the Gecko occupation. Some of those personal struggles weigh heavily on Horus when he encounters Officers Minelli and Gibbons in the middle of the night. These Police officers are patrolling the area with their new mechanised Artificial Intelligence observer, Protos. Told through some flashbacks we see that Protos is obviously the lead in the story and the titular character. Protos’ creator, Doctor Tom Burg dumbs down his greatest creation in order to keep his employers happy by squeezing his AI into a simple army combat android. We can definitely expect things will ramp up significantly once Protos exits “observer mode”.
Wow. Really, just wow. Raffaele Ienco does everything in this book but edit. He is the writer, artist and letterer and the work is just amazing. Dark and moody but punctuated with bright faces and the occasional police light glowing in the rain. Such a great colour palette given the tone of the story. Raffaele’s faces are almost painted realistic, like someone trying to do a licensed comic and making the likenesses just right. This comic is an instant add to my pull list. A really impressive first issue.
Issue: Mechanism #1 | Publisher: Top Cow Productions
Writer: Raffaele Ienco | Artist: Raffaele Ienco