The Surrogates #1


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The Surrogates #1


  • Words: Robert Venditti
  • Art: Brett Weldele
  • Inks: Brett Weldele
  • Colors: Brett Weldele
  • Story Title: Field Test
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
  • Price: $2.95
  • Release Date: Jun 29, 2005

With The Surrogates, Top Shelf is publishing their first Amainstream@ comic. It=s something totally different for the publisher, but it works.

Our story begins in the year 2054. The entire world is technologically advanced, but one specific breakthrough stands out. The Surrogate, a humanlike android which allows its owner to experience what it experiences, has been developed. Now, 92% of the population owns a surrogate. Our story starts with the murder of a pair of these surrogates.

Robert Venditti is a name I=ve never before seen on a comic book. I hope to be seeing it more soon, because this comic is a damn fine debut issue. Venditti gives us a very intriguing story here, somewhat reminiscent of The Coffin. In fact, this book seems very similar to the sci-fi books which Oni Press publishes. Here, Vendetti captures that same eerie feel and deals with similar man/robot ideas as touched on by Hester in The Coffin, but he does it in a totally unique manner. Along the way, he spins a gripping story to go with those ideas. The reasons for the murder could be many, and Venditti does a nice job of keeping the reader guessing on that front.

The most impressive aspect of this book so far, with no doubt, is the atmosphere which Venditti has established. He has created a world similar enough to ours to relate to, but also interestingly advanced and dark. An eerie feeling radiates through the pages of The Surrogates, even at the seemingly most peaceful times. Venditti also does an impressive job of blending very human elements into the story, even amidst all the science fiction fun to be had here. The Surrogates could easily be a blockbuster movieBand one well worth seeing at that.

Brett Weldele=s name brought me to this book, as I’ve long been a fan of his work, and he did not disappoint in the slightest. I knew Weldele could handle the street level scenes very well as he excelled at just that with Shot Callerz and Julius, but he also handled the more extravagant sci-fi images well. His rough, angular style suits the book perfectly, while his sense of color adds nicely to that aforementioned eerie atmosphere. Weldele=s art has drawn many critics for being difficult to follow, but here that claim has absolutely no credence. Weldele=s art has never been sharper.

This book surprised me. It=s not Top Shelf=s typical art comix style, but rather an Oni-like approach of mainstream concepts with fresh handling. Regardless, it works beautifully. Fans of independent and mainstream comics alike should be sure to read The Surrogates.

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