Famous Monsters of Filmland joins the new comic book rack with “Gunsuits” #1 under American Gothic Press. Written by Paul Tobin with art from P. J. Holden, colors from Diego Rodriguez and letters from Marshall Dillon, this comic deals with the repercussions of tampering with quantum travel, a concept created by Philip Kim.
Part “Pacific Rim” and part “Aliens,” this story pits the driver of a smaller Jaeger-like suit called a Gunsuit against nebulous bad guy monsters again and again. Tobin and Holden avoid getting cute with the story and the outcome, choosing instead to introduce readers to the situation at hand through Cassandra Potts, the main character of the story. Thematically descendant of Ripley, Potts leads the resistance against the invaders and shows both leadership and determination. Tobin gives readers a strong, reliable character with a clear goal in her sights. Readers can support Potts and, with help from a flashback filled with surprise and emotion, can even find her likeable and relatable. The rest of the crew serves as a foil for Potts’ development, at least in this introductory issue.
Holden doesn’t overdo the Gunsuits but, in conjunction with Rodriguez’s colors, keeps the cast clean and clear and the variations of the Gunsuits unique. Holden’s art is serviceable and crisp, but his storytelling takes some mild leaps in action in the early half of the issue. He delivers more dynamic shots than smooth narrative in this portion of the comic, but it doesn’t suffer in readability at all. Rodriguez’s saturated colors and Holden’s invasive, dark shadows are an interesting combination that doesn’t quite melt together on the page. The story seems as though it should have dingier colors, but that simply doesn’t happen. Occasionally, the visual duo couples to produce a spectacular effect, but other times the color overpowers the art, washing over the panels.
The bulk of the first issue sets up the plot but does so through action and revelation, as readers become aware that Potts and team are running a world-saving scenario through alternate realities. Before the final page, over thirty-seven thousand conflicts have been identified with zero successes. Through the course of that description, readers learn about the cause of it all and Potts’ personal interest in resolution.
“Gunsuits” #1 is a confident debut that doesn’t hesitate to embed the reader in the battle. It’s also the start of a four issue miniseries with a lot of energy, but not a lot of quiet moments to pay off the suspense that accumulates throughout the issue. After all, readers are told to be impressed with the infinite possibilities of fighting for infinite infinities. In reality, Tobin and Holden have laid a solid foundation. I just hope they construct solid walls around this tale.