Fraser Campbell & James Corcorran put their creative heads together to introduce us to Alex Automatic in that opening issue before building on that world in the second issue and with more on the way…….it was time for a catch-up AND a look ahead.
The third issue starts to deal with the fallout from the previous one and Alex Anderson wrestles with the reality where he works for the Government agency Prism and a skewed vision of the world in his subconscious. His time in the clutches of anti-Prism organization The Academi gives credence to what he thinks is real but the blurred worlds and Alex’s own comatose state makes sure that there’s no clear cut way for the central characters or even the reader to know exactly what’s real.
The newest issues brings a series of additional layers to the world around Alex and as the bigger jigsaw starts to be formed, we begin to get a glimpse of the history of the character and the source of every aspect of his psyche. Hand in hand with that comes a clearer picture of what drives Alex to find the answers he needs and just who is on his side as he takes the next steps on that journey.
The story maintains its momentum in the face of a character who has multiple routes being taken at the same time with a question mark over what’s real, what’s unreal, who is out to get him and who is on his side…..and that includes an air of doubt about himself too. Thankfully it doesn’t get too tangled up in itself as it goes, but instead Fraser drip feeds details to bring you willingly into a series that’s both spiralling out of control but with a clear sense of direction……a contradiction in terms for sure but he knows exactly what he’s doing and just how to keep us on the hook.
Similarly, James’ art keeps in-line with the tone it’s had from the beginning and while the addition of different timelines, particularly in the newest issues, gives it an additional level of complexity, the approach to a slightly different style to punctuate and emphasize those differences it all fit together perfectly. Being joined by David B. Cooper is key to keeping things consistent too and the colours blend amazingly well with the art to help us remain buoyant among the madness. Letterers Colin Bell (issue #3) & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Issues #4 & #5) play their part in the mix as well as they handle a flood of story from different time periods & from different stages in Alex’ mental demise & with that much dialogue & narration it’s crucial that their input adds to the momentum….and they rise to the challenge with ease.
Fraser & James continue to form one of the impressive creative teams around the indie scene and Alex Automatic is the spotlight on that combination. The complexity of the world is intriguing enough without leaving me feeling like I’m outside what’s happening trying to figure it all out and with the art, colours & lettering helping with that heavy lifting, it feels like a series that’s content with itself in all it’s messed up glory.
Get the latest issues and what’s gone before via the campaign link below too: