A young man does research into using his lucid dreams to tap into psychic powers in Potential #1. Unfortunately, there are others with more dangerous plans for his idea. Is it good?
Potential #1 (Independent)
Potential is an independent comic book series made by co-writers James Green and Andrew Taylor, with the latter handling the artwork. Together with letterer Ryan Bross, they tell the story of Ian Westbrook, a college student who is researching the possibility of psychic powers in human beings. Believing that lucid dreams are the key, Ian’s research catches the attention of some figures that may not have his best interests in mind.
The first thing that really stands out in Potential #1 is the protagonist. Ian is a focused student, but the story avoids the usual tropes that show up in stories of over-achievers. While Ian certainly loses some sleep due to his research, he has healthy relationships and his friends seem to respect his drive. It’s an extremely accurate representation of the college environment and that aspect of the script really allows Green and Taylor to lure the reader into this world.
Andrew Taylor’s artwork is a bit rougher in style than many comic book readers are likely used to, but there’s a naturalness to his characters that allows the reader to immerse themselves in the story. Each character also has a strong design to them. No character resembles another, in part because of the diversity of the cast, but primarily due to the fact that Taylor takes the time to give each character their own facial structure and body shape. The issue is also exceptionally paced, not just in terms of presenting the overall story, but in creating story beats. Every scene feels complete, and it’s a testament to both Taylor and co-writer James Green that everything flows so well.
This reviewer, every time he fixes a household appliance.
Not every aspect of the art is great though. There are multiple panels where the perspective between the background and the foreground seems warped. It’s not something that will bring the reader completely out of the story, but it is noticeable and, from a technical standpoint, that aspect of the artwork just isn’t up to par with. That being said, there are some nice experiments with composition, such as a panel that aims the perspective through a beaker, and so the characters are warped. It’s an interesting shot that mirrors not only the science-fiction qualities in the plot but also the nature of the characters in question.
Potential #1 also has a great cliffhanger. While a tease of the next issue is expected, the nature of this issue’s ending makes for a solid hook, working as an unexpected yet perfectly-set-up conclusion to the book.
Is It Good?
With a solid script and an engaging premise, Potential #1 is a solid debut. While some may find the artwork by Andrew Taylor to be a bit crude, his talent for character work and well-paced storytelling make for a captivating read. The script by Taylor and co-writer James Green does a fantastic job of establishing the premise while also introducing the primary players in the series. With an entertaining opening salvo, readers are encouraged to check out Potential #1 and the rest of the series on Comixology.
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