In Review: Delete #1

Save the date in March to pick up what's going to be a very popular series. Recommended.

The cover: A pair of covers to seek out on this premiere issue. The Standard cover is illustrated by Amanda Conner and colored by Paul Mounts. It features handyman Spencer holding mute Kalina above the snow that’s still falling. Something has frightened the pair, causing their eyes to bulge and the enormous man to stop. Excellent image that shows the two leads, but nothing of what threatens them; an excellent way to get readers to pick this up and see what’s scaring them. The coloring is beautiful, with the characters and the snowfall popping out against the violet background. There’s also a Retailer Incentive cover that’s the exact same image by Conner, though without the strong coloring, making it appear that the two are in a heavier deluge of snow than shown on the Standard cover. Very nice, but I prefer Mounts’s bright colors. Overall grades: Standard A+ and RI B+ 

The story: Crafted by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, Delete opens in a snow covered city similar to many others. A family of three, Uri Skagitoff, his wife Yalena, and mute daughter Kalina, make their way to their apartment, let in by giant of a handyman Spencer. The couple are having a discussion about money, with Yalena saying, “He will have to pay us or we will ruin him.” They also discuss when their passports will be ready, but they are rendered speechless by noting a “TURN ME ON” note on the television in their apartment. Yalena is instantly frightened — “HE FOUND US!” — but Uri tries to calm her down, saying it could be from someone else. Turning on the television they are met by a strong faced, well dressed man who tells them they were stupid for stealing from him. The picture then changes to a live feed outside their apartment complex — a van’s back doors open and several men approach their building’s front door. Yuri screams to move, while Yalena tells her signing daughter that bad men are coming. Racing into the kitchen, Yuri grabs a box of matches and stares hard at their stove. Before this hostile party enters their apartment, Yalena puts something onto Kalina’s head which looks to be the key piece of technology for this series. It looks like a pair of 1950’s goggles, but when activated covers the wearer’s head in a series of squares. After the inevitable horror that occurs, dialogue from detectives reveal what the googles are and what they can do. This is an extremely interesting device and this is an extremely interesting tale. Readers are thrust into witnessing several deaths, but don’t know why, only that Spencer and Kalina are on the run and the police and another group, led by someone not yet named (the man on the television that threatened them). I’m really liking the mystery, the tech, and Henry Drexler. Spencer and Kalina are an unusual pairing and I want to know as much as possible about them and their plight. Overall grade: A+

The art: Beautiful work on every page and panel from John Timms. The book opens with a terrific establishment panel of the snowbound city, moving to follow the Skagitoffs as they make their way home. Spencer gets a nice one panel focus so that readers can identify him later in the book. The interior of the Skagitoffs’ apartment is sparse, save a wall filled with computers, and their kitchen looks well used. Things take a turn to the futuristic when the googles Kalina wears are activated. The cube effect sounds like simplest thing to illustrate, but Timms has made it look fascinating and terrifying to endure. The villain’s home is the exact opposite of the Skagitoffs’, being set apart from all other buildings and expensive beyond measure. In addition to the exceptional settings, the characters that Timms has created look awesome. The Skagitoffs are slim, with Yuri looking particularly haggard, Spencer is a moose of a man whose stature hides a caring soul, the villain of the piece is cut from the mold of an elegant gentlemen who will resort to murder to protect his interests, and Drexler is the most intense looking character in the book, whose stares are colder than the falling snow. This books looks amazing. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Paul Mounts is an outstanding colorist. Opening on the crowded streets, Mounts used not only the expected black, whites, and grays, but violets to show people and elements in the foreground, ensuring that the reader can see all that Timms has created. Choosing to place the Skagitoffs in bright snow wear has them standing out on the city’s streets. Putting a little blush onto Spencer’s checks and nose makes the reader better feel the cold on the characters. The colors used to show the live feed that the antagonists are broadcasting as they approach the apartment is a fine chilly blue, foreshadowing what’s going to occur. The coloring on the cubes that surround Kalina when her googles are activated is intriguingly odd, with the inner violet glow spooky. Violent actions and explosions are rightly bright, and the villain’s home oozing evil in crimson. Mounts is acing every aspect of this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, a transmission, translations of Kalina’s signing, an editorial note, sounds, yells, a conference call, and the to be “Continued” come from Bill Tortolini. All look great, and I’m as pleased as punch that a different font is used for the electronic conversations and normal dialogue, plus the sounds are as strong as anything has Hollywood created. This, too, is good. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: Save the date in March to pick up what’s going to be a very popular series. Mystery, action, and futuristic tech are contained in a superb story with outstanding visuals. A winner in every possible way and something I’m going to add to my pull list immediately. Recommended. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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