Ollie Leif is the new kid in town and has to make his way through the first day at a new school in a new neighbourhood. Kaare Andrews does an exceptional job in ‘E-Ratic’ #1 of setting out and establishing the various characters and relationships as well as sign posting future problems coming Ollie’s way too. All delivered with humour and great art.
When reading new comic book series E-Ratic #1 by Kaare Andrews it doesn’t dawn on you straightaway that this new teen super hero is part of the bigger expanding shared universe that AWA Upshots are developing. But it is, and it says a lot about this book that it doesn’t talk down to its readers. Something I’ve already come to expect with AWA Upshots output since reading and reviewing The Resistance that kicked this whole new universe off originally. And while that book was a comic with a more serious and rightfully dour tone to it, this one is full of joy, humour, thrills and spills. Although, you become so engaged with the various characters introduced in this freshman issue you forget that the thrills and spills comes at the very beginning and only again at the comic’s ending.
And speaking about freshman (see what I did there?), let’s turn our focus to new-kid-on-the-block Ollie Leif, who has started at a new school because his mom had to move out of the city and into suburban Heaven/Hell (I’ll let you decided that one for yourselves) for a job.
And, what should have been a fresh new start for all soon takes a nose-dive when his mother makes a startling and unsettling discovery. Which leads to further problems I let you discover for yourself should you be wise enough to pick up this first issue. Wise, because this is such a refreshing new and exciting series that manages to capture a sense of wonderment that speak to every teenager in us all.
Full of colourful characters and interesting development – and all in just the first issue – its good to see a comic that isn’t afraid to pack a lot of mystery, intrigue and foreshadowing into a single issue. I was never a fan of decompressed storytelling as we saw in The Ultimate Spider-Man (a six issue story-arc to recount origin story that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko did in a few pages; what was that all about?). And with Ollie having already received his super powers thanks to being one of the “Reborns” who survived the viral pandemic portrayed in The Resistance, we don’t lose any time with an origin story.
Following his journey through his first day at a new school works exceptionally well as a device to introduce and establish the primary players of this five-issue opening season. We get to meet potential first-love-interests (hey, he is a teenage boy, after all) a school faculty that couldn’t be more diverse – and great fun to read – as well as new friends. All done with exceptional style, as you’d expect from Kaare Andrews. An artist who’s style reminds me somewhat of classic MAD Magazine artists such as Jack Davis and Dave Berg: emotive, real-life characters but slightly exaggerated. All furnished with a skateboard/punk aesthetic that only adds to this book’s cool credentials.
E-Ratic #1 is a kinetic-fuelled, cool, contemporary looking, captivating comic that will appeal to a wide range of readers. A teenage hero for the modern age, with all the problems to go with it! And out tomorrow from AWA Upshots.