Writer: Mike Garley
Art: R H Stewart / Gareth Gowran
Letterer: Michael Stock
Publisher: beActive Books
Price: $4.91 (Kindle edition via Amazon.com) $2.99 (iTunes –in app purchase to unlock all comics)
Whether or not you agree with the much-mooted idea that there are no new stories, it’s undeniable that how well a story is told is as important as its originality. If this were not the case then mainstream comics in particular would long ago be grounded, unmasked, de-caped and out of business. American publishers have been pedalling the same masked hero fighting evil stories for the greater part of a century now, yet still manage to produce some great stories from the same old plots. Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullos’s Court of Owls, Bendis’ take on New Avengers; comics like these show that in the hands of a master craftsman, old and often tired materials can still be used to fashion great things.
Collider, from beActive Books, is a veritable melting pot of old sci-fi tropes and standards; time travel, black holes and worm holes, strangers mysteriously thrown together across time/space, and a discredited scientist struggling to convince the world of impending dangers. While none of these ideas may be new, the story that Mike Garley fuses from these familiar elements is so well told as to make the reader forget how familiar it first sounds. His expert storytelling and impeccable pacing draw you right in, and the suspense he ladles out page after page keeps you there all the way through.
After figuring out the devastation that the Large Hadron Collider in CERN will cause, discredited scientist Peter Ansay sabotages the facility with unexpected consequences. He wakes up to find himself in a future in which the disaster he predicted has happened. For company he has 5 total strangers, all from different backgrounds, and none of them with any idea how they got where they are. On top of this, despite being transported to the future, Peter has a sense of dejav vu about his surrounding that he can neither explain nor shake.
Collider uses its two main artists to great effect. As it switches between the future and flashbacks to the present, both narratives have their own artist, lending them a unique feel. It is also a distinction that helps eliminate any potential confusion with the story’s structure. Dublin artist Gary Gowran’s part of the story is in the desolate and mysterious future. His detailed, gritty style paints a grim and immersive picture of the awful future Peter Ansay is fighting. RH Stewart, on the other hand, is tasked with illustrating the present, concerned with CERN and Ansay’s career as a scientist before his fall from grace. His cleaner style is well suited to the feel of this part of the story, showing scientists and boardrooms, labcoats and laboratories rather than the chaotic desolation of the future.
Clever use of its two strong artists, and the pace with which Garley tells his story ensure Collider is a gripping and entertaining read that’s well worth the small price you pay for the whole story.