Isn’t it wonderful when you’re totally into a comic within the first two pages?
That comic is Analog issue # 1, a new Image Comics series written by Gerry Duggan, with art from David O’Sullivan, and colors by Jordie Bellaire. It’s not a completely perfect first issue, but damn, it’s a really good one.
I hate St. Louis.
Every time I come here somebody tries to kill me.
He’s right you know.
Because right now, in the opening of the issue, Jack McGinnis is sat on a park bench, surrounded by someone else’s blood, with three guys with guns in front of him who want the briefcase he’s handcuffed to. Five against one became three against one a few minutes ago. Which explains all the blood.
McGinnis won’t hand over the case, not unless they have the password. He’s being paid well for it. How well? Enough to have hired a sniper. Make it three against two then. And McGinnis picked his kill zone well.
Like I said, I was sold within two pages. And thankfully, my instincts with this one were spot on. From that point, Analog was one of those ever so nearly perfect first issues.
Issue # 1 is something of a play in four acts. First, we have the almost balletic choreography of McGinnis and his sniper dispensing with the goons. It’s delivered quickly, it’s delivered effectively, and tells us everything we need to know about McGinnis in superb shorthand. He knows just what he’s doing and he’s very good at it.
I’m the world’s safest way to move information. Safe for your secrets. Not for me.
My name is Jack McGinnis, and I’m a Ledger Man.
The second part begins as the clearing up from the very one-sided gunfight wraps up. Where the perfect action movie beginning transforms into something different, something very interesting. It turns out that McGinnis is someone very special, a way to get information from one place to another.
The year’s 2024, and something bad happened on Christmas Day 2020. Very bad. The great doxxing. Yeah, I had to look it up as well.
Doxxing: from dox, abbreviation of documents. To broadcast private information about an individual or organization.
Everyone’s life changed. Every little secret went public. If you use the Internet, the world knows why and what for. Some chose to go with it and cope with no privacy ever again, others unplugged. I think you can guess what McGinnis did. That and a very specific skill-set make McGinnis a perfect vehicle to shift information that no-one wants known.
And the third part? Well, that’s the twist. That’s back in Palo Alto, 2018, and finds Jack McGinnis, the former NSA agent, working in Silicon Valley, although it’s quite obvious he’s not writing programs. Who he meets, what he does following that meeting, well it’s not spelt out, but you surely get the idea it’s very, very important.
And finally, there’s the fourth act, the finale that isn’t a finale, just a lead-in to the second issue. McGinnis gets a mystery postcard and heads to Queens.
Lotta old neighbors are gone. Some dead. Some can’t afford the flood insurance anymore.
But there’s one old bastard that’s only leaving here in a bodybag.
I’m definitely on board with Analog. It’s no way perfect, but it’s very, very good. The action sequences are clipped, fast, movie style. The retro-futuristic setup is simply introduced, yet so effective. You don’t need loads of backstory, just the basics to get you up to speed. And then there’s those little touches, things like that “flood insurance” line as McGinnis ventures into Queens. Immediately you’re thinking climate change, world change, something more? Nicely done.
Yes, odd bits of dialog feel clunky, out of place. Yes, there’s probably too much going on, the big twist reveal possibly thrown in too early. And yes, there’s something of a Liam Neeson filmic quality about it in the action sequences. But most of all, I was getting a vintage Warren Ellis vibe from Analog. And I love Ellis.
C’mon, this is Duggan channeling Ellis, tell me I’m wrong…
Then I hit the fast-food place on the corner. Somehow it manages to sling Chinese food, burgers and donuts. The health code rating is a damn “C”.
I firebombed it last year, hoping something good would take its place, but it regrew and added falafel to the menu.
I know when I’m defeated.
As for the look of it, well I’m seeing a bit of Gary Erskine maybe, a lot of Ty Templeton. And it definitely looks like Erskine/Templeton doing Ellis’ Transmetropolitan. But screw it, there’s nothing wrong with wearing your influences on your sleeve if you’re doing good work like Duggan and O’Sullivan are here.
I’m on board with Analog. Issue 2 can’t come round soon enough.
Analog by Gerry Duggan (writer), David O’Sullivan (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colors), Joe Sabino (letters), is published monthly by Image Comics. Issue 1 comes out this Wednesday, April 4th, 2018. You should buy it.