ADVANCE REVIEW: Lightning Strike's Company Man #1

Company Man

Created by: Pete Hernandez
Published by: Lightning Strike
Company Man from creator Pete Hernandez gets its European debut this summer and signifies Lightning Strike’s first foray into single story publication following on from their two highly acclaimed anthology issues of this Spring and last.
This issue of Company Man from Pete Hernandez represents a real detailed entry point for readers to indulge themselves in a Brooklyn of 2025 and the world of Nick Reyes, a kid who ten years earlier received an injection that the books blurb tells you changed his life forever. Having heard of the book but not read it I was very interested to delve in particularly after being introduced to Pete’s work through the opening issue of the Lightning Strike anthology in the Spring of 2012.
After a first read of the book you really appreciate how well written the narrative is with some nice pacing and character development especially of Nick. We get to see a progression of emotion and manipulation with Nick that gives him a rounded feel. A lot happens to him in the pages of the issue but I didn’t get the feeling that the story was rushed at all instead we get an impact tale with plenty of action and Hernandez’ intelligent plot revealing just enough to keep you pulled in. Nick Reyes apart, there is a fully fleshed out world featuring a corporation with its own designs on keeping Reyes in-house by any threat and action necessary. I particularly liked how the book opened with that ‘Holy Sh’t’ moment that the story then retroactively builds towards. It was a nice way to immediately pull a reader in.
Hernandez quite deliberately has Reyes not as your stereotypical white superhero but instead we see a more, honestly, realistic take on the superhero by having a Hispanic kid that doesn’t just appear to be cannon fodder but instead a character of consequence. I’ve seen Hernandez mention before in other forums that this move was made to show that a hero can break ethnic boundaries and be successful.
Hernandez’ art style is a bit deceptive in that it seems rather simplistic at times but is actually quite layered. Each page is fully realised with Hernandez using a number of nice cinematic shots littered around the book. He also has a nice grasp of page structure especially evident on text heavy pages where he lays out the panels so there is an ease to the story’s flow. Hernandez makes good use of a varied colour palate and uses shading to a deft degree that gives the book in places a sparingly noir-ish tone which was a great effect.
This is a sure-fire winner of a first issue. The groundwork lain here sets a very strong foundation for the next issue and beyond. Lightning Strike will be making details of the books release known shortly so we’ll post on ICN as soon as we know.