Connect with us
Nuclear Family #3
Aftershock Comics

Comic Books

‘Nuclear Family’ #3 begins to blend dystopian horror with Cold War intrigue

Whilst this issue delivers a cinematic experience, its pacing and art are inconsistent.

Alternative history stories captivate the human desire to explore the unknown. In many ways, the genre is a form of exhaustive ontological horror — it stipulates how helpless one’s life is against the causality of change. One difference in the timeline creates a cascade of differences, and so the world as we know it changes. Nuclear Family tells the story of the McCleans. Once a relatively ‘normal’, all-American 1950s family, they have been mysteriously transported to 1968. In this future, the US has been decimated by nuclear war, with the remaining population forced to live in super-bunkers. In issue #3, readers follow the McCleans, as they discover more about the dark dystopia they find themselves in.

'Nuclear Family' #3 begins to blend dystopian horror with Cold War intrigue
Aftershock

The creative team behind Nuclear Family continues to set a cinematic tone for the series. Writer Stephanie Phillips combines dramatic dialogue with quick action scenes in a way that makes the exposition feel natural and integrated into the plot. This is compounded by Tony Shasteen’s interiors, which look like they could be screencaps from a Cold War cinemascope espionage movie. The colors complete the stylized look, as JD Mettler cleverly plays with the shadowy lighting to maintain a tense and ominous atmosphere. Indeed, Nuclear Family #3 stands out for how it uses a confined and stifled space to tell an exciting and visually interesting narrative.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

The pacing of this issue, however, sometimes gets ahead of itself. The introduction of a particular character feels slightly rushed and convenient. This may well be explained further ahead in the series, but in the context of a contained installment, it is jarring. Moreover, the art occasionally falls short in close-up shots. A few faces here and there appear twisted and detract from otherwise impressive interiors.

Nuclear Family #3
Aftershock

It remains too early to fully analyze and review the politics of the series. Issue #3 goes further to explain the history behind Nuclear Family’s alternative 1950s, and it certainly begins to explore the more sinister side of this US proto-government. However, the narrative is yet to explore the discursivity behind the Cold War, beyond propaganda. The ending of the issue, however, suggests that there is more to come on this front.

Nuclear Family #3
Aftershock

Nuclear Family #3 offers readers some cinematic, fast-paced Cold War drama. Despite a few stumbles shared between the art and plot, this series continues to show promise.

Nuclear Family #3
‘Nuclear Family’ #3 begins to blend dystopian horror with Cold War intrigue
Nuclear Family #3
Nuclear Family #3 offers readers some cinematic, fast-paced Cold War drama. Despite a few stumbles shared between the art and plot, this series continues to show promise.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.3
The tone feels appropriately cinematic
Shasteen’s and Mettler's interiors feel perfectly stylized for the Cold War setting
Some of the pacing feels abrupt and rushed
Close-up shots do not hold up with the rest of the art
The politics of the series still feels slightly shallow
6.5
Good

Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!

Comments

In Case You Missed It

the wheel of time the wheel of time

‘The Wheel of Time’ Episode 4 review: ‘The Dragon Reborn’

Television

AIPT 2021 Toys Gift Guide: Hasbro, Neca, Sideshow, and more AIPT 2021 Toys Gift Guide: Hasbro, Neca, Sideshow, and more

AIPT 2021 Toys Gift Guide: Hasbro, Neca, Sideshow, and more

Toys

'Hulk' #1 review: The Hulk, my destination 'Hulk' #1 review: The Hulk, my destination

‘Hulk’ #1 review: The Hulk, my destination

Comic Books

'Black Panther' #1 gets right down to business 'Black Panther' #1 gets right down to business

‘Black Panther’ #1 gets right down to business

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup