Boy-1 #1


By H.S. Tak, Amancay Nahuelpan & Sebastian Cheng

Boy-1 revolves around the haunted, drugged-fueled heir to a genetic-engineering company, Jadas Reizner. In this near-future tale, Jadas goes through an ethical crisis when forced to begin human testing trails for genetic modification. All the while, he works towards trying find more about his murky past and his estranged father…

When this book was advertised as being in the tradition of Blade Runner, my interest was piqued. Sadly, the influence is present, but the execution is lacking. Good science fiction deals with ethical and universal themes, which this comic does, but H.S. Tak is a bit heavy-handed with it. Mainly it’s his use of internal narration that pushes it. All of what he wants to convey can be done within the dialog, actions and facial expressions of the characters. The first half of the issue introduces Jadas and Genomyne Bioworks; Reizner’s interactions with his colleague Wendell are just full of unnatural and unnecessary dialog. Tak tries to make Wendell a multi-dimensional character who loves pop culture and make the comic self-aware, but it just falls flat and feels cliché.

It’s not until the second half of the comic, that the material finally picks up and becomes interesting. Here is where the creative team taps into some noir elements. Amancay Nahuelpan and Sebastian Cheng take this opportunity to really implement shadows and illustrate the shady underbelly of this future beautifully. The office of the private investigator is arguably the most interesting and detailed setting in the issue, ironically enough it’s the most contemporary too. The atmosphere truly comes into its own and Cheng brings a nice rustic, worn look to the locations. Also in the section, Tak keeps the dialog to a minimum and lets the artists craft the storytelling. If the material is handled in this fashion, then this series could actually stand on strong legs.

Unfortunately, just because the second half of the book is decent, doesn’t make it a good comic overall. Some leeway should be given since this is the debut issue, but Boy-1 has a long way to go to be able to match some of the excellent sci-fi stories being published today. It has a decent concept, so it has potential; let’s see what next month brings…