By Ales Kot, Will Tempest, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller
“What if the most important question we have to ask ourselves right now is not why we are here, but what does ‘here’ actually mean, and how much of it do we really see?”
Material #1 by writer Ales Kot brings up a lot of questions much like the quote above throughout this fragmented storyline. We’re given events that question what we’re all actually doing “here”, along with different looks into recent significant events, and the hardships faced by those around us.
Kot’s storyline jumps from person to person as we get differing views of hardship and glimpses of hope. A struggling actress has a chance to save her career… but is she ready? A teacher is faced with the fact that technology is taking over in how history is being recorded, and is even approached by an A.I online that questions his ideals even more. A man is sent to Guantanamo Bay and ends up being changed forever. These stories and more ask the reader to question what’s important, and through the story of the teacher, question how they’re being presented into the history books.
The artist on this issue is Will Tempest. Throughout the story he keeps a rather simple take on the art, not a whole lot of play with facial expression or detail, but it’s the choice in colors that stand out the most. Each separate little story is given its own color scheme, whether realistic or not, and serves to let the reader know when a new narrative has started, this style works well in some areas, but not so well in others. A scene depicting the actress along with her agent becomes confusing as the panels constantly swap color schemes, forcing you to try to piece together which character is actually her agent and which ones are the movie producers, since they all look generally the same. Later on this same color scheme is used while the movie is being filmed, and some great scenes come out of that (a camera focusing on the two characters as the sun sets in the background), but again the characters are met with different colors each panel, something that only causes more confusion.
Material #1 isn’t your average story, and it doesn’t seem to want to be either. Kot and Tempest have set out to give you something that will leave you wondering how others face their fears and overcome their hardships, and it does so in a manner that reflects on the times using recent events and possible futures.