Comics Features

REVIEW: Prospects #1

Prospects is an interesting specimen to say the least. The art style, for instance, reminds me a lot of an old 90s Cartoon Network show. So that served as a nice call-back to nostalgia days. Another thing I noticed is the storytelling is very vague, but in a good way. It’s clear that the panels and dialogue/monologue of the characters only want you to know as much as it wants you to know, allowing you small glimpses into the unravelling world of Prospects.

The comic goes as far as not telling you who the characters are. All we know about the characters is what we are shown through the panels or what the other character’s speak through dialogue. We only find out Colin’s name through seeing it written on his basement door. Strangely enough this information is all we need to understand, and even like, the characters. It’s a refreshing style of writing that draws you in through intrigue.

By the cover-art alone you know that this comic is going to be slightly strange with its mash-up of genres. The art style alone shows that you are going to be getting a wacky, cartoony-like storyline full of comedy. To begin with the narrative seems straight forward and quite simple. We have our protagonist, Colin, deciding between buying milkshake and vodka at the convenience store, have a panel of a woman looking at him with disgust (to showcase further that he is a no-good slob), before seeing him harassed by his neighbour for not cutting his grass. It all seems pretty normal up to that point but then things begin to get rather strange.

We know after this point that Colin lives with his grandmother but the passing dialogue towards the backstory of his parent’s whereabouts is rather odd indeed. Colin states, “Abducted at 21- mutilated, and transformed into monsters?” At first I really didn’t know whether this was a sarcastic joke or not, especially since Colin is clearly an over obsessed geek. But as the narrative went on it is clear that this dialogue is fact and the world is actually screwed up.

The secondary protagonist, Andrew Russell, is introduced and he is clearly the complete opposite of Colin: younger, has everything going for him and is clearly popular with the ladies and everyone in general. The only thing he has in common with Colin is his annoyance with the life around him and wanting to be left alone.

The strangeness comes around with the dialogue indicating that certain people get chosen for something. At first it isn’t clear what they are chosen for until right at the end. Things become odd when Andrew stands outside his house and looks at the horizon to see a ghoulish mansion with a graveyard outside and a mad scientist’s lair on the top of a mountain. By this point I am literally screaming out: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?

After undergoing a task for his grandmother, after of course being woken up from his milkshake/alcohol induced coma, he encounters a road accident. Then comes out two zombies who are being hunted down by cyborgs! I am literally lost by this point, but still I read because it’s so fascinating. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Despite the mesh-up of horror, science-fiction, comedy and teen-drama, it all works. I love how Colin’s closing statement is, “I hate this fucking town.” That perfectly sums up the story and the characters involved thus far.

Going back to the whole “being chosen” plot-thread, it turns out people are either taken by one mad person to become zombies or another mad person to become cyborgs. And apparently this is a big deal to everyone inside the world of Prospect, to the point Colin’s grandmother is proud of Colin’s father for being taken for this process whilst Andrew’s mother is disappointed she wasn’t taken. This is certainly a mad, mad world. But it’s interesting.

Creator and writer Maxwell Majernik has an ingenious mind and knows what kind of narrative he wants to tell, and it works nicely. It feels refreshing and opts away from being too serious, instead delivering an entertaining experience that leaves you asking questions and wanting more. I once again need to congratulate the art-style, drawn by Jean Franco. It’s simplistic but effective. It also stands out because its different. There’s a fine balance between cartoony comedy and black comedy, all drawn with a tone that matches the writing. I’m really interested to see where Majernik goes with this strange tale and what mad shannigans await Colin. Also I’m interested in seeing how Andrew fits into the bigger picture.

Have you read Prospects? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!

About the author

John Hussey