Raucous ‘Reactor’ #1 a Saturday morning cartoon on a blood and sugar bender
By Mickey Rivera and Kaitlin Beer. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.
Written by Donny Cates.
Illustrated by Dylan Burnett.
Colored by Dee Cunniffe.
Lettered by Taylor Esposito.
MR: My main take-away from Reactor #1 is that if and when humanity is enslaved by a genetically mutated super-race of vampires, you need to get Donny Cates to write the rebel resistance speech. With him to lift my spirits, and a guarantee that I would get to crush vampires in a mech suit, I would enlist at the drop of a hat.
What is Reactor about, you ask? Well you see, a little while after the vampire hordes forced humanity to relocate off-world, the human race’s new immortal 10-year old emperor sends a team of elite super soldiers back to Earth to prevent the vampires from starting a space program. The soldiers discover that a ragtag contingent of stranded humans have been subsisting as slaves to the vampires (who have by then industrialized blood production). They decide to lead these humans in a war to take back planet Earth.
Let’s be honest: That plot wouldn’t sound out of place if it were whispered to you by some creatively demented, glue-sniffing 5-year old in the middle of the night. That’s exactly what makes it so compelling. Reactor, like its predecessor, is thus far brazenly over-the-top, relishing each opportunity to crack a nihilistic joke or fill your heart with the joy that only violent cartoon heroics can give you. It’s like a Saturday morning cartoon on a blood and sugar bender — campy, deranged, and just plain cool.
This book takes place a year after the events of Interceptor, Cates’ 5-issue limited series from 2016. Interceptor was illustrated with stylized brilliance by Dylan Burnett, and pressure-packed with as much misanthropic humor and action as possible. Reactor #1 brings these creators back together, and the result is just as explosive, 24 pages of elated mania.
This series belongs to that sacred category of pulp fiction that wants nothing more than to excite and entertain. It’s not trying to make a big statement or act as a catalyst for a 20-page think piece. It’s just old fashioned vampire-killing fun, and I’m glad it exists.
8.5 out of 10
Written by Greg Pak.
Art by Giovanni Valletta.
Colors by David Curiel and Inlight Studios.
Letters by Tom Napolitano.
KB: John Wick #1 leaves readers new to the character clueless.
I was looking to get an introduction to John Wick and this first issue didn’t reveal much about the character beyond his familiarity with crime. A flashback implies that he may be trying to settle a score with a nefarious syndicate from his past, but I am extrapolating.
For reasons unbeknownst to the reader, nearly all of the ne’er-do-wells in the story seem to know the name John Wick. A room full of fancily dressed baddies even start cocking their guns at the mention of it. One character provides a limp clue into John’s past affiliation with an organization called the “Institution,” by mentioning that this time around he will have to play by their rules because he is no longer a kid, which I guess implies he has a long history with this character, but the details are limited. From this issue, the only facts I gathered were as follows: John Wick had a troubled childhood, is nimble, likes it quiet, and has an affinity for cats.
Beyond the minimalistic storytelling, artist Giovanni Valletta (X-Men: Blue, Pathfinder: Worldscape — Lord of the Jungle) does a fine job of portraying action, but lacks detail throughout the issue. I was surprised by the lack of definition in the panel backgrounds and character faces given the visual appeal of the cover.
Greg Pak (Mech Cadet Yu, Kingsway West) has plenty of good titles and I would be willing to give this series a second chance based on his name alone. While Dynamite’s synopsis presents this issue as an introduction to the world of John Wick, I was disappointed by its vague start.
3.5 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.