Created and Written by: Frank Mastromauro
Penciler: Marco Lorenzana
Colourist: Wes Hartman
Letterer: Josh Reed
A review by Jake Morris.
What is there left to be said in the world of science fiction? Overtaken, the new series written by Frank Mastromauro and published by Aspen Comics attempts to prove that there still is by bringing something new to the much crowded genre of storytelling.
Right from the start of the issue, it is easy to see that Mastromauro has big ambitions for the story. It starts out with a narrated overview of how all life eventually creates its own destiny and how survival is always an important factor for any generation of all species. The hints of Darwinism here are obvious and you gain a real sense of there being much at stake in the opening pages.
On pencils is Marco Lorenzana and on colours is Wes Hartman, both of which do a good job in splitting the book’s art into two distinct parts. The first quarter of the book, with its focus in space, depicts a luminous look at the stars and distant planets. The colouring especially is mesmerising and I greatly appreciate how space is made to look wondrous as opposed to the flat nature depicted in past stories in the comic book medium. Rather than giving readers a glimpse of dank emptiness, Lorenzana and Hartman present a colourful look at the dark abyss which should give readers impetus to stay on the page and observe the art.
I did, however, find some character designs to be generic which was disappointing considering how impressive the issue starts out. That though is a small nitpick as there is a heck of a lot of depth in those pages, filled with scope that backs up the ambitious nature of the story.
The story comes to life most when it reaches Earth, in what seems like present day, as we join the main character, Will Harden. An investigative journalist who is in the process of moving with his wife from the city to Turtle Creek, a small town in Minnesota. The panels featuring both characters are heartfelt and you feel a real sense of love between the two, which often can quite easily come across as inauthentic, but Mastromauro navigates this dialogue easily and it is a pleasure to read.
Introductions to characters are thrust upon you in quick succession resulting in the pacing suffering ever so slightly which leads to the only big complaint of the book. These pages introduce varying elements of Will’s life, the townsfolk and the relationship between Will and Jesse but it leads to several sections feeling rushed and some of them not being granted as much time to develop as the rest. Hopefully the next few issues break things down more as the development of the story introduces a greater dynamic to the characters and the goings on of the story.
As I have already mentioned, this story is not short on scope or ambition and it is great to see as the story has a lot of potential, which is only further amped up by the end of the issue.
The ending does bring about a lack of conviction in what should be an intense finale to a great first issue but in an attempt to show more of the panel’s action to the reader, it takes away any connection to a character’s plight. That said, the real hook of the story and what gives the premise such a strong standpoint is the grounded setting.
This is sci-fi, perhaps not the overly exuberant style or the grandeur of recent sci-fi blockbusters, but this story has hints of classic 80s films from the genre like E.T. that depend on the development and relationships of characters instead of futuristic technology or, ahem, lens flares.
Overtaken #1 looks to be a step in the right direction for this new series and hopefully as stated by Mastromauro, will “redefine the genre”.
Overtaken #1 comes out August 28th and is available in stores and on Comixology.
Jake is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @JakeUtd.