Series: The Revisionist
Writer: Frank Barbiere
Art: Garry Brown, with colorist Lauren Affe, and Dave Sharpe on letters
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Summary from Comixology: “New series! How far would you go to save reality? Martin Monroe is The Revisionist—a time-traveling assassin tasked with repairing our fractured timeline. Forced to place his trust in his estranged father, Martin will have to overcome his troubled past to save the future—but can he live with his decisions?
Join the all-star creative team of writer FRANK J. BARBIERE (Five Ghosts, Avengers World), artist GARRY BROWN (Black Road, The Massive), and colorist LAUREN AFFE (The Paybacks, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter) for the first chapter of an all-new action/sci-fi adventure about fathers, sons, and time travel!”
One of the amazing things about comics is that, while we often compare and contrast their stories with movies or novels, they can do something neither film nor traditional literature can. They can (literally) paint a vision of the past, present and future as if you were looking at them from any time period. I know that sounds confusing but allow me to explain… When I first started reading this story, it made me think of Blade Runner a little. Blade Runner was released in 1982, but the story takes place in 2019 (if we have flying cars and Replicants within a 3 year period I will eat the computer that I’m currently typing this on). When you watch Blade Runner you 100% understand that this was an early 80’s visual execution of trying to convey an idea of what the world could look like in 30 years. When we make movies now about the future, they inherently look just like someone from the 2000’s conceptualized an image of the future. Every time period has had it’s own unique way of expressing ideas about what the future could look like. Comics, though, can tap into any era’s specific vision of the future and adapt it. Looking at the first several pages of The Revisionist #1 I thought, “Wow… it’s reminds me so much of the future world that is painted in Blade Runner.” The buildings, outfits, weapons. The whole environment has this very 80’s-depiction-of-the-future vibe to it, and I f—ing LOVE that.
Frank J. Barbiere is an absolutely fantastic writer. I feel like everything he writes could be a SyFy TV show, which is kind of ironic because that network previously acquired the rights to potentially adapt his breakout series “Five Ghosts” as a series. There’s just something very cinematic about the series’ that he writes that make them stand out. I think about how something like “Saga”, or “Roche Limit”, or “East of West” are stories that fit perfectly as comics but could balloon into insanely convoluted plots if they were ever to be made into films or TV series, and then I look at Frank’s arsenal of creator-owned work and think all of it would translate perfectly to live action, and is still captivating as comics as well. It’s simple enough to follow, but never shallow, and he always brings the right amount of introspection and self-realization.
Frank nails the sci-fi future stuff, but also has perfect grasp on the importance of character development as well. The story jumps back to the present to give us some backstory on our main protagonist, Martin, and how he got to where he is. In the past we see that he was in jail, and we meet a friend of his who has a thick stutter. It felt like if The Shawshank Redemption had been made with George and Lennie from Of Mice and Men as the lead characters. I was very impressed with how that whole narrative moved and tied in with the intro of the story. Frank proves he knows where he’s taking the story and doesn’t leave any strand unwound.
(Also, we once had the pleasure of interviewing Frank about his BOOM! series “Broken World” and I promise you he couldn’t possibly have been a nicer guy.)
Another big part of why this comic feels so nostalgically futuristic (I’m pretty sure I just made that term up) though is the incredible art team, lead by the talented and versatile Garry Brown. His work here is more visceral and unpolished than say, his work on Marvel’s Iron Patriot series (which I very much enjoyed and felt was underrated). His line work is brilliantly juxtaposed, with the straight lines of the buildings and rooms being perfect, and the rough lines of the characters adding so much personality and uniqueness. The color work by Lauren Affe is flawless overall, but there are a few pages where Martin is having a vision of sorts and those pages are extra bright and beautiful.
“The Revisionist” is a gritty, intriguing comic for sci-fi lovers of all kinds. This first issue perfectly sets up the story and characters with complexity that isn’t difficult to follow and doesn’t treat the reader like an idiot. The story is compelling, with a cliffhanger ending that will certainly leave you eager for issue #2, and the artwork is deeply engaging. Pick up a copy at your local comic shop today, or click the Comixology link at the top of the page to get it digitally!
Music Pairing –
So with this, I felt like prog-metal band Tesseract were the perfect accompaniment. Something with depth that’s a tad otherworldly but still grounded. Jam them while you read this book.