'Nobody is in Control' #1: The DoomRocket Review
Cover to ‘Nobody is in Control’ #1. Art: Paul Tucker/Black Mask Studios

by Clyde Hall. A few decades back, I struck up an acquaintance with regional folks from a group studying UFO sightings. Some were writing books or selling photos, and profit motive led me to discount what they shared. Others truly believed that encounters were real, and some claimed to have had experiences themselves. I wasn’t a believer, but as I watched the group network, it became apparent many were on a different level of reality than mine. They could almost finish one another’s sentences. They were normal, ordinary citizens from varied social classes and professions. Kind and welcoming to a fault. Their shared reality wasn’t a paranoid or negative one. Just different. While I didn’t find proof in their claims about alien life as the source for UFOs, I did want to understand these people.

Richard Savare, the main character in Nobody is in Control #1, shares the same desire. Richard’s a retired radio talk show host, his program one which might have shared windscreens with Art Bell. Guests and callers put forth theories about all manner of The Unexplained. Richard was a great host because, rather than focusing on proving or disproving, he sought to understand the people. After a career covering three decades, he’s spending his senior years in a remote woodland home north of Atlanta. Nearest neighbors reachable by ham radio, fourteen miles to the closest town. Pedestrians traversing his yard is rare. Rarer still, one wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase.

That’s Nick, hoofing cross country away from Camp Merrill. Fearing that some city dweller poorly equipped to navigate this terrain has lost his way, Richard offers to help the stranger. They walk into the woods, and the issue shares their conversation. It covers flashbacks, economic conspiracy, cryptozoology, and black helicopters. That’s just from Nick, who seems unaware of his guide’s previous occupation.

Think My Dinner with Andre without dinner, under the leafy canopy of rural Georgia. The topic, instead of theatre and life, centers on Them. They. Conspiracy at the highest levels of commerce and government, and then elevated one level above those.

I’ve enjoyed Patrick Kindlon’s writing on his previous There’s Nothing There, and he’s in good form again. Both Richard and Nick are witty, their conversation valid and authentic. While the narrative fields a wide span of Fortean topics, the central one is a game-changer. It would be worth nearly any level of subterfuge to keep secret. Good news, X-Files fans. The truth is out there, only it comes in variety packs and the biggest one could extinct you, your family, and anyone else caught sniffing around it. Kindlon uses the convo effectively to intrigue and give surface impressions to both primary characters. Underneath the perfectly natural verbiage and happenstance, seething layers of deception await, peeling.

Equal credit in keeping this low-action introduction fascinating belongs to artist Paul Tucker. Tucker does things. Textbook entry things, computer screen things, fanciful morphing of men into beasts hinting toward agendas yet hidden. He molds message into collage, subtext with textures. It’s a stylish heterogeneity. The book looks smart and reads the same.

The talent triumvirate concludes with letterer Wallace Ryan. He accentuates Tucker’s illos with the right font for each fantastic flourish. The exchange between Nick and Richard is boosted in its genuine, rolling flow by lettering that reflects naturalness of spoken word over pretty text. There’s harmony between the art style of Tucker and Ryan’s written words. In promotions for the project, they’ve discussed their shared history. Ryan is a former teacher of Tucker’s, and their resulting sync formulating a unified, unique look to this book is strong. They weren’t merely working on the same pages; they were on the same page when it came to vision.

Probably few launch issues should be done as a dialogue dance. But Kindlon, Tucker and Wallace have choreographically succeeded. Not always through just what the primaries say, but through what each, especially Richard, omits. There are ample directions the storyline might evolve, and Kindlon kindles our inner Criswell. Will we see the guilty punished and the innocent rewarded? Who qualifies as either? #1 leaves us pondering points and engaging in guesswork for #2.

What are the odds a Deepthroat informant with society-altering covert intel would stumble across the secluded retirement refuge of a former conspiracy show anchor? One hundred percent, apparently. Either that, or someone’s fishing and the question becomes who’s dangling the worm to whom. Nick seems a likeable fellow, the sort to befriend you, assess your threat level, and have your trust to easily snap your neck if his decision is ‘liability’. What are the various implications of the Big Coverup if true? The fallout if it’s exposed? More, can a story set in Georgia timber country peer into sub rosa without bringing Sasquatch DNA into play?  

Black Mask Studios / $3.99

Written by Patrick Kindlon.

Illustrated by Paul Tucker.

Letters by Wallace Ryan.

8 out of 10

Check out this 4-page preview of ‘Nobody is in Control’ #1, courtesy of Black Mask Studios!