inFamous #1

A comic review article by: Felicity Gustafson
inFamous is based on a video game and those comics have a tendency to be a lot like action movies -- heavy on the pictures, light on story. They're usually made just for the money and the fans are generally disappointed after the first issue. I was extremely wrong about this one -- perfectly detailed artwork, in depth characters and plot twists on every page. I couldn't put it down. Every time I turned the page, I was drawn deeper and disappointed when it was over.

The story opens with a basic explanation of how a Ray Sphere works: it allows people to manifest superhuman abilities by transferring neuro-electric energy from non-conduits to conduits. When the conduits accumulate enough energy, the abilities are activated. There's a horrible side effect, though -- when the abilities trigger, everyone in the area is killed. So, naturally there has to be one scientist who experiments with this further. The mad scientist Kessler proposes that a person could be exposed to a Ray Sphere multiple times and, instead of replacing the existing power, he would gain additional powers. To prove this theory, he experimented on a security guard named David and created a monstrosity with 11 different abilities.

Writer William Harms does an amazing job drawing out sympathy and getting the reader to connect with the main character, Cole MacGrath. When we're first introduced to Cole, it's stressed that he's just an average, everyday guy delivering a box with no idea what's going to happen to him. It seems like everything went downhill for him in the span of a few months, and you just can't help but feel bad for the guy. The writing switches from first person point of view to third person, but does it fluidly, adding insight to how Cole feels during various points of the story.

The addition of David was fascinating. Despite his grotesque appearance, again, you can't help but feel bad for him -- he was a regular security guard in need of money to support his family unaware of what Kessler was going to put him through. The comparison of Cole and David was what made me fall in love with this comic. On the outside, they look completely different, but they were both people molded into what Kessler wanted and thrown involuntarily into their positions. Neither one wanted any of it to happen, but now they're committed to a cause. It's not exactly written in stone, but every great character has a tragic past.

The artwork was gorgeous, shifting between a lightness in most of the panels and a darkness with more shading to depict the creepier scenes, but managed to remain consistent in the figures. The picture of David on the last page was magnificent; it's the first perfectly clear picture him, so the first thing we notice is how mutated his features are. Even though he doesn't exactly have eyes or a proper mouth, the artist still manages to give a feel of absolute despair and rage that radiated from the page. Just... wow.

The dynamic between the writing and the artwork was, nice too. In certain scenes, it wasn't specifically written out what happens, so the reader has to infer from the picture, but it doesn't happen often enough for there to be confusion. I can't go into more detail without spoiling some goodies, but when you're reading this one, take a few extra seconds to appreciate the art.

I'm still in awe of exactly how much information was stacked into this one comic. I've grown accustomed to comics that hardly have enough plot to capture interest and use the excuse that's it's just the first issue. Not with this one. inFamous comes out of the gate with both barrels blazing and keeps you guessing the whole way through. So, if you like a story with a serious plot based on tragedy and strength, with some good old fashioned mutant abilities thrown in, I highly recommend this one.

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