In Review: Rapid Eye #1

An enjoyable first issue that has familiar elements from other stories.

The covers: An appropriate pair of covers for a series titled Rapid Eye. The A is by Rowel Roque & Ronson Edulan and nicely teases what can be found within this issue. Protagonist Eddie Phillips puts his head to his chest, exhausted and what he has to do. He has a futuristic rifle held high in his left hand and a pistol low in his right. Behind him is a monstrous piece of machinery containing images of those who pursue him. The background is a crackled orange that has a blue bolt of energy zipping to the left. A good tease that introduces the lead, the villains, and the technology involved. The B cover hails from Luke Stone. This is a close-up of a character’s eye, most likely Eddie’s. It’s a fitting cover, since it’s an eye, but it’s just an eye. Overall grades: A B and B C-

The story: Bobby Torres and Anthony Rodriguez have crafted this tale which is a little bit of Inception, mixed with The Matrix. On the inside cover, before the book’s credits, there’s a brief summary that explains what the story contains. It’s not necessary, as it gives away too much of this issue’s plot. It could be put in every issue after this premiere, but it’s a spoiler. This twenty-two page comic begins with Patrick frantically calling Eddie at 2 a.m. Thirty minutes later, Eddie pulls up at the diner where Patrick’s waiting. With a letter for Eddie on the table, the frightened man dozes off before his friend can enter. Eddie walks in and sees Patrick covered in blood, which is also splattered on the table, windows, and floor. The story then moves five years into the past where a man is giving a presentation to a packed room. He’s showing how A.T.M. (Access Trance Machine) technology will allow people to enter other’s dreams. Designed to study human psychology, there is a downside: the first twenty minutes, the Recognition Phase, has the host and the infiltrator feeling anything occurs, so if you die then, you die in the real world. However, the scientist states that the A.T.M. will eject the infiltrator if danger becomes apparent. Later that night, the scientist is kidnapped by the C.I.A., with a Mr. Dempsey appointing a man named Norman to lead the team. Back in the present, Eddie opens the letter and discovers something shocking. Torres and Rodriguez are laying out the premise for their series, and they do so well. The individuals who performed the hit on Patrick are a trio of balanced characters, with their supervisor Norman doing all that he can to get them to achieve his goals. I liked that Eddie wasn’t thrown into action immediately, with him reluctantly meeting with another character who looks to play a larger role in future issues. When the action kicks in, it’s very reminiscent of The Matrix, with characters able to change the reality of what’s occurring in the dream world much as Neo and the Agents did. This was fun, but familiar territory. A neat twist at the start of the chase has Eddie revealing something about himself that was surprising and should influence his decisions. This was a fun premiere. Overall grade: B 

The art: The key to making this a visual pleasing story is the artist’s ability to create a believable world, so that when the dream world is entered the fantastical elements of the story become strong. Rowel Roque does a good job at this. The first page has him creating a street scene (tilted to enhance Patrick’s anxiousness), Eddie’s bedroom (with some really good work done with the sheets), and the exterior of the diner, including Eddie’s car. The second page is Eddie’s discovery of Patrick’s body, and it’s a bloodbath; it looks like a serial killer got to him. It’s fine, but it’s a lot of blood. However, where are the other patrons or the employees of the diner? It’s too empty and had me suspecting that the story had already begun in the dream world. The flashback pages are heavily populated for the scientist’s presentation and the architecture in his home is equally impressive. Roque is really good at creating backgrounds: they’re complete and detailed. The first double-page spread occurs on 7 and 8. The layout of this setting is great, but there’s a lot of empty space in the bottom left, as if more dialogue was going to be inserted. Page 9 has Roque moving the point of view around exceptionally well. The next page starts with a surprisingly underfurnished room, followed by a panel with a lot of dead space up top and a panel inserted that needed a border to stand apart. The page set in the Gold Leaf Cigar Bar is fantastic, with the location and the characters outstanding. The dream sequence chase closes the book, with the action done well. There’s another double-page spread showing three characters leaping from a movie car onto three moving motorcycles. The vehicles are really good and the movement of the characters done well. On the penultimate page another vehicle is created and it’s a little over the top, revealing something about the dreamer’s personality. This book has some good looking pages, though there are a few speed bumps on this journey. Overall grade: B-

The colors: The colors really add to this book’s visuals. I’m really happy when a colorist uses a color other than black to create the night, as that color is overused and often overwhelms the artist’s work. Ronson Edulan uses a perfect blend of gray and violet to make the evening sky. These colors lure the reader into thinking the visuals will be passive, but Edulan unleashes a startling crimson for the violence committed in the diner. The two page flashback that follows are tinted pink to show the past; this is a choice I’ve not seen before in a book, but it works well. Metallic colors are used for the villains’ A.T.M. lab and it’s perfect. When the dream sequence begins, the borders are given an icky ultra pale green that makes the transition eerie. The bed sheets are a bright violet, which is good, but it shows that brighter colors are needed in this sequence to make it more dream-like. The colors are too passive for the actions and the settings. I’m liking what Edulan is doing, but I need the dreams to really stand out with the colors. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Nic J Shaw is responsible for creating the dialogue, sounds, scene settings, and yells. The dialogue has got a nice look to it, with it not looking as mechanical as other books. The scene settings employ the same font, but are thicker, which makes them stand apart from the dialogue. The sounds are Shaw’s high points to the book, with them looking fantastic every time a noise is used. Overall grade: A

The final line: An enjoyable first issue that has familiar elements from other stories. Another issue will great expand the plot and showcase more of Eddie’s abilities in the dream world. This is a small press comic that deserves a look. The second issue is about to launch at Kickstarter and I’d love to see more from all involved. Overall grade: B+

To purchase a digital copy go to http://www.tenaciouscomics.com/rapid-eye-purchase/

To see both covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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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