by Patrick Kindlon & Antonio Fuso
Survival Fetish is a new comic from Black Mask that takes place on the island of Honolulu, but in a new state of society from what we know. There are restricted areas, the streets are not safe because of the snipers who “protect” areas. It is impossible for average people to have full access to the island so, they hire “runners” to get things from one area to another. This job has a high turnover rate, people often die trying to get goods across the island. If you are good at it, you are a celebrity, everyone knows who you are and admires what you can do. Saheer is the most famous runner in the community, he runs everything from insulin to truffels all across the island. He struggles with not only the notoriety that comes with being good at his job, but also the sacrifices he has to make to be good at it.
Issue #1 introduces you to life as they know it on the island, with the terrifying conclusion that any random person walking on the streets can be shot at any moment, scary stuff. The story from Kindlon is pretty dark, but the one bright light at the center of this bleak picture is Saheer, the famous runner, and the community we meet led by Raul, Jules and their two kids Noe and Kev. Jules is a nurse, taking care of those who do not have access to healthcare and Saheer gets medicine and supplies for them. Noe is the love interest, which should prove interesting to see unfold. She has a certain excitement for Saheer that is depicted in the most racy of panels, certainly earning the M rating for this book. There is a certain hardness to Noe for survivalism in this broken down society that seems to be intrigued by the abilities of Saheer. Does the relationship just exist to serve her purposes or is there a genuine relationship, we shall see. By the end of the first issue we see the moral ambiguity of a character exposed, and it should certainly lead the series in an interesting direction.
The red cover coupled with the black and white pages really help Survival Fetish #1 stand out on the shelves. Art from Fuso has a base level quality do it, that reflects the overall narrative of the story. People living in a broken down society, focusing on the basic necessities really comes through with the black and white art style. Color would feel like a frivolity in this world, and there is so much emotion coming off the page already that the story does not suffer without color. The story lacks a certain sophistication, like there is an overall crudeness to the lines that gives this book a really sincere feel. The feels seem to leap off the page as this gritty style is a perfect compliment to Kindlon’s story.
A new story like Survival Fetish has the possibility to be the new action packed book full of intrigue and twists and turns to keep readers hooked. There is a genuine feel to this book; maybe it is that this book genuinely wants readers to embrace the characters or that this story is really good. Either way, this book will hook you into the story and make you care about Saheer and the community he puts his life on the line for.