Creator/Writer Kevin Schwoer recently launched the first issue of his new comic The Signal that promised a mix of X-Files & Homeland so I was instantly intrigued by what we’d find in this opener.
Setting the scene the briefest glimpse of a NASA craft on an unknown world we’re soon back on Earth five years down the line as the search for a signal from space that could change the entire world. The only problem is that the Government just don’t want that information released to any civilians and they’re just as cutthroat as you’d expect as they try to achieve that. The central character for this title is former NASA astronomical data analyst Annie Archaya who seems to have only herself to blame in the disgrace she’s brought onto her shoulders.
It’s never clear-cut when Government forces are involved though and as details of the latest signal being detected and shared come to light Annie finds that she’s back in their sights as she aims to get the truth out there. The twists and turns do evoke those X-Files/Homeland vibes and while it teeters on the edge of some sci-fi clichés it’s kept from disrupting a good story by Kevin’s quirky setup and attention to detail.
Annie feels like a character with the world on her shoulders as much because of the troubles from her past as the attempts on her life but she becomes the driving force in a slick opening issue. The expanse of space has a real sense of scale thanks to the blend of Neil Anderson’s art and Sean Callahan’s colours and the shift to the claustrophobic elements of national security being risked develops a well paced opening stretch into a frantic pace. There’s a ton of dialogue in some of the scenes but letterer Toben Racicot seems to have a firm handle on that as he wrestles things onto the page without disrupting the flow of the book.
The key element here though, is that we are kept in the dark about what the source of the signal is & what it means and that’s where the real success comes from here as we’re page-turning as quickly as we can to find out more. The last page and the glimpse of what’s to come in the next issue appears before you know it and you keep turning in the hope for more….but we’ll have to wait. An opening issue to relish and I’m hoping the next issues continue to veer away from those sci-fi clichés and keep us guessing through until the end.