Do you want to hear a story of extra-terrestrial proportions? One that questions our very existence in the universe? A story that’s been kept from us by the government? Then you’ve come to the right place. I must warn you, the comic I’m about to review is extremely confidential. But… You mustn’t keep this a secret any longer. It’s a matter of international security. The world needs to know what’s coming. It needs to know about The Signal.
Written by Kevin Schwoer and illustrated by Neil Anderson, The Signal follows an astrophysicist who makes a world-changing discovery but is discredited by the scientific community as soon as she tries to go public with it. She ends up being right, as is always the case, but it’s being kept a tightly sealed secret.
Or so they think.
So, what is the signal? Where did it originate from? And why is it getting nearer? What does it want? So many questions, and so little time to find answers. The first issue doesn’t really go into much detail about what this signal is, but there’s no time. With a revelation that could change the history of the world, we see a desperate attempt by government military forces to keep this under wraps, as well as the ordinary civilians do their best to make sure everyone knows. It’s promises to be an interesting conflict.
The main character, Annie, burdened with alcoholism after having her life turned around 5 years ago, is by no definition boring. She’s aggressive, vulnerable and determined. To me she seems like the type of person who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, even if that means pushing away those closest to her. There is one objective: the truth. And the truth will bring closure. But nobody knows if the closure will be a good thing or not, especially when the universe as we know it is called into question. I will be interested to find out how her character develops over the course of the overall plot. Does she overcome her demons or is she just destined to fall slave to them?
I like where the story is going so far. We’ve had an insight into Annie’s past and what drives her – even met her scumbag ex-boyfriend. It doesn’t offer any explanation as to what the signal is, just a small clue. It’s pretty ominous shit. Part of me was hoping for some sort of dramatic irony where the reader would know what’s going on and not the characters, but being kept in the dark is just as gripping. It doesn’t start slowly either, but I wouldn’t say it jumps right in. We’re quickly eased into the story with little chunks of information that set the stage for something bigger, but I couldn’t help wanting more context.
I found the artwork strangely compelling. What’s most noticeable is the somewhat odd facial expressions the characters have in the panels. I can’t quite put my finger on why I find it so striking. The angles look odd and the expressions exaggerated, but then coupled with the soft colouring it almost balances it. There is a life-like texture to the way things are rendered. Anderson, along with colourist Sean Callahan, do a great job of creating a sense of realism that juxtaposes the theme of the story to make it visually interesting. And although I found it a little jarring to begin with, (maybe that was the intention)I quickly grew used to it.
All in all, The Signal is a comic that grabs you by the collar, pulls you in and teases you. You’ll want to know what follows. You’ll want to know how Annie finds closure, if any at all. You’ll want to know the nature of this signal and why it’s coming towards us. What secrets does it hold that the government, along with NASA, are trying to bury? Looks like we’re just going to have to read the next issue to find out.
The Signal is published by Abstruct Entertainment, and you can purchase a copy of it here. Spread the word. Spread the truth. Stay safe.