Review by David Ferguson
- Art by Rebecca Reynolds (Glitch), Colm Griffin (Shelter) and Steve Mardo (Al)
- Colours by Rebecca Reynolds (Glitch) and Paul Carroll (Shelter, Al)
- Letters by Rebecca Reynolds (Glitch) and Paul Carroll (Shelter, Al)
- Written by Paul Carroll
As this is an anthology, I’ll go with the overall feel and then break it down on a story by story basis. I like the design of the book as it gives it a science fiction look that goes with the tone of the stories. The image on the cover of a robot / AI giving the science fiction look while the red heart represents the human emotion of each story.
‘Glitch’ I feel is the star of the show. Rebecca Reynolds has had a breakout year in Irish comics with Valerie so I can see why Paul Carroll chose her to do this story. The story revolves around two kids with powers and Rebecca manages to show their abilities while retaining the fact that this is a story about teenagers. Her art and colours always move with the mood of the story. They are so good in fact that you might overlook her lettering skills which also add to the polished feel. The 9 panel pages were a good choice as they create a tempo that adds to the emotion of the story and the hook (which I won’t spoil) is pretty clever. I liked the depiction of Shane’s issues as it felt real to me. It is also great to see a story with a message. It is about friendship and being there for your friends even when they are a bit all over the place. Could easily be expanded to a bigger story if the creators decide.
‘Shelter’ is an apocalyptic story about a father and a daughter stuck in an underground bunker listening to the radio with a rampaging monster running around outside. I had read another review where they didn’t like the radio presenters part of the story. I think this actually added another dimension to the story . It was a nice take on a current issue i.e. not believing everything you read / hear. It was cool to see Colm Griffin tackle something outside Ocean City and he did a great job on this story. This does lead to the comparison of Paul Carroll’s colouring versus Colm Griffin colouring himself, which I had no real issue with. I thought his lettering was pretty good too. The tension was built up pretty well throughout the story. The only things I may have changed would to have added a rumbling sound effect to a few panels after we see the monster to build up the tension more, with a large rumble on the third last panel. I might have done a tighter shot on the last panel too. Overall I liked it and think it is another piece that could lead to more stories if Paul wanted actually.
‘Al’ is the final story and is about doctors trying to save their child (Al) by syncing his memories with a biomechanical replacement. The idea raises a lot of interesting questions and mixes science fiction with emotional drama but this one didn’t resonate for me the way the others did. Steve Mardo’s art was pretty good and, again, I had no real issues with Paul Carroll’s colouring or lettering. I just they fall victim to comparison to the colouring and lettering of Rebecca Reynolds who, at this stage, is the more polished of the two creators.
Overall, it is a very well put together book .It had some intriguing science fiction ideas and reading it leads you think about issues that the stories raise, particularly the nature of friendship and mental health issues in ‘Glitch’ and the role of the media in ‘Shelter’. Definitely worth a look especially if you like science fiction.
You can pick up Plexus here.