Since Brandon Graham’s “Multiple Warheads” one-shot five years ago (and a short story before that), his career has exploded a bit; first with the successful “King City” from TokyoPop and then Image, followed by relaunching “Prophet” into the best science-fiction comic currently being published. Now Graham brings the title back with “Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity,” the first of a series of mini-series. And if anything it’s even more inventive than I remembered.
If this is your first experience with “Multiple Warheads” you don’t need to worry; not only is there only a little material already out there, but Graham brings you up to speed on the few things you do need to know about Sexica, Nikolai, and Nura. The reason why it’s just a few things is that in part half of the fun of “Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity” #1 is just soaking up the strange world that Graham’s created as his characters make their way through it. The book opens and closes with Nik and Sex traveling across the country, picking up singing cigarettes and testing the local water to see if it’s safe to drink or if it might be poisoned or haunted or worse. When some of the other water options include “living water” and “forced immortality,” it’s the first hint on just what a strange yet wonderful world Graham has created.
A lot of this issue involves Nura going on an organ hunt for her employer. With a discarded head used to follow a trail and a living motorcycle as a steed, we’re once again quickly immersed in the strange nature of the “Multiple Warheads” world. (Then again, in the original short story Sexica sewed a stolen wolf penis onto Nikolai and turned him into a werewolf, so it’s not like this odd landscape is new to the title.) It would be easy to just stop and revel in the bizarre ideas, like a palace on top of a six-legged creature the size of a convention center, but Graham keeps the story moving so briskly that it’s almost impossible to absorb everything the first time through. That ends up being part of the fun of the comic, though; “Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity” #1 is immensely re-readable, and I suspect we’re about to get a lot more of that in the following issues.
Graham’s art is intriguing to those who have never encountered it before, because it’s both simple in nature yet packed full of heavy detail. Almost every page has tons of stuff crammed into each panel, from crazy foods to elaborate armor and creatures. The colors are bright and cheerful, and little moments like Nura’s sword tumbling through the air show a strong understanding of how to convey motion in a normally static medium. Add in great little bits of dialogue like, “Don’t you leave without kidnapping me” and the entire comic comes together wonderfully.
“Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity” #1 is the start of a mini-series, but as Graham notes on the inside front cover, the idea is really to have it be the start of an ongoing series where Graham stockpiles enough art to have regular monthly releases, with pauses to let him then catch back up. With the first issue clocking in at 48-pages, that approach feels more than reasonable to me. If you haven’t read “King City” or “Prophet” yet, you absolutely should. But until then, check out “Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity” #1. This is pure fun from start to finish.