Three gifted but underperforming college students find themselves at a crossroads when the university pulls their curriculum out from under them, forcing them to carve out their futures in the remaining week they have before being booted out in Patrick Pidgeon and Matt Anderson’s “Creeple Peeple” #1, drawn and colored by Tim Lattie and Diego Rodriguez. The cover blurb proclaims, “It’s weird science gone wild!” but the story is far more mild than wild and the science isn’t really so weird as it is just plain unfathomable to anyone without a science degree themselves.
Pidgeon and Anderson’s story doesn’t read so much as a comic as it does a dissertation set to a fictional backdrop. The decompressed dialogue is like an unedited screenplay with stretched out sequences that extend pages longer than necessary. When soon-to-be-former students Spigs, Peabo and T-Ray learn they’re going to be kicked out, they spend four pages discussing that they need to take some course of action. The scene establishes the characters, of course, but this is essentially done in three panels and the rest comes across as labored.
It doesn’t get any better afterwards, as five more pages are spent with minimal story advancement but a lot more verbosity. Whatever advancement occurs, though, is largely done through conveniences and contrivances; a sudden recollection of one particular professor who can aid the estranged students’ cause becomes the story’s lynchpin, but there’s really not so much explanation as to why these three characters are so desperate to stay in a college that is so ill-suited for them in the first place. Likewise, there’s also a suspiciously-placed, out-of-nowhere result from an internet search that sets the direction for the rest of the issue.
This only leads to a crash course in biotechnology for both the characters and readers. Presuming that the readers can suspend their disbelief enough to buy that these slacker students can really become scientists in three days’ time, all of the scientific gobbledygook that appears afterwards reads more like an advanced textbook at this point than a comic reading experience. It feels as though Pidgeon and Anderson expect readers to remember all of the science mumbo-jumbo, just in case it has relevance later.
For any readers who stick through it, their reward is an eleven page finale where the trio’s fast tracked mad science education is put to use with an ad-hoc lab experiment that finally comes to its fruition on the final page. The outcome ties into the issue’s introductory flashback scene, which does feature a moderately enticing opening, but that is as good as the issue gets.
Lattie’s art outshines the script, although page after page of dialogue in a dorm or classroom doesn’t give him much to draw. His characters are all well-defined, though, and he delineates them with a light, clean touch that fits their freewheeling, can-do spirit. His handle on likenesses is a good strength to have for the story. Rodriguez’ colors work well with Lattie’s lines, contrasting foreground and background nicely and keeping the issue looking bright.
“Creeple Peeple” #1’s cliffhanger ending holds some promise for a second issue that might be a little more exciting, but this issue as a standalone doesn’t really make a case for committing to it.