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Is It Good? Cluster #1 Review

Comic Books

Is It Good? Cluster #1 Review

Fans of old-school, hard-boiled action are in for a treat, but can we really have two female prison comics going on at the same time? Well, sure if they’re both good…so is this one good?

Cluster #1 (BOOM! Studios)

Is It Good? Cluster #1 Review

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It’s the distant future and humans are still in need of good soldiers. They aren’t needed for war, but rather to protect terraforming towers on distant planets against alien bad guys. To increase their stock of soldiers anyone serving a life sentence can get their sentence reduced to 15 years. This also helps throw as much cannon fodder in front of the enemy as possible with little to no risk. Problem is now people are being sent to other planets for simple petty crimes.

Is It Good? Cluster #1 Review
Maybe point her to a mop?

Writer Ed Brisson has himself a pretty fun and entertaining premise on his hands. No, it’s not only girl prisoners—there are men seen in the background—but the main characters are female. At least I think they are, as one of them is some kind of shark alien thing and there’s no telling the sex on that one. That said, the sex of the characters really doesn’t matter, because it’s all about the conflict of characters going to an unknown planet to serve their time. Problem is, one character is a politician’s daughter, the other barely did anything and the other two are mysteries. This issue follows those characters as they find themselves together against incredible odds.

This issue is great because the pacing is top notch and never boring. We learn details about the characters with a great balance of learning more about the prison system and the alien world. Meanwhile not everything appears to be as it seems, and a larger plot is building behind the scenes. Sure, the comic has a Starship Troopers sort of vibe, but the characters in this comic are far more realistic than in that movie. For the most part they are far more sympathetic and interesting. Brisson opens the issue with the protagonist committing a crime—the crime that sends her to prison in the first place—and one can see how much confusion and pain she went through when drunk driving. This sets up the guilt and possible redemption story she’s going for, but Brisson quickly knocks her down with a rousing speech and a sequence where all hell breaks loose. It’s a fitting setup that should make everyone highly anticipate the next issue.

The art by Damian Couceiro is detailed and moody. In many ways it reminds me of Gabrial Bá’s Casanova, with a more muted color tone and a similar inking style. It’s quite pleasing to the eye and it fits with the science fiction premise. I’ve already mentioned the pacing, but of course it’s not just the script that allows the pacing to flow nicely, but the art too. The layouts do a great job speeding up and slowing down the story when necessary.

Is It Good? Cluster #1 Review
Yeah, but seriously, help her friend already.

Is It Good?

This is a real treat of an issue that very quickly gets the reader interested in the premise and involved with the characters. It sets up what will assuredly be a very entertaining action comic.

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