As most comic fans know, especially the ones who checked out this site last week, Free Comic Book Day was on Saturday, May 4th. It was a stupendous event where free comics from comic publishers big and small were available to the masses. Fun was had and store wide sales were taken full advantage of. Last week, I attempted to prepare the many comic fans by providing a list of “top picks” to help those not sure what books to pick up. This list was chosen by me from the many free comics I had access for preview before the big day. Walking Dead, Fubar, Star Wars and more made the cut. But even though I was provided with a wide array of the comics that would be available on the holy Saturday, I did not receive all of them. Because of this, there was a glaring omission from the list which I wish to correct after that fact. A title that did not make the cut simply because I hadn’t gotten the chance to read it: The Strangers #1 from Oni Press.
This book was one that I wished I’d taken the time to find out about before the big day as it’s the first book I would’ve pimped to everyone I could. Using a swinging sixties backdrop, the title focuses on a spy team each equipped with special powers. Check out the synopsis below to read a bit more on the premise:
“The last thing you want to see is my hands.” They’re called the Strangers. They’re deadly. Dangerous. And you’ll never see them unless they want you to. But now they’ve come up against something big – United States government big. A cover-up of international proportions, and at the center of it all is the Strangers’ deadliest foe, a man known only as Capricorn. A man who knows the Strangers. A man who sees them.
I know, you’ve probably heard a premise like this one a million times. A secret group with ability above any normal man, helping the people in secret and unearthing a government conspiracy? Not like that’s not done in comics almost every Wednesday. But sarcasm aside, while this may be a well worn plot, the execution of this concept is key. After reading the first two pages of issue 1, you know the characters and tone of the book instantly. Michael Kono’s hands are able to disable and manipulate all things mechanical. Verity Mills, the sole female of the group, is a charming woman with the power to heal. Sandoval, the team’s heavy hitter, has immense strength and is possibly bulletproof. And leading them from behind the scenes is the wheelchair ridden Absalom Quince. Their work takes them across the globe and in the first issue leads them to the coast of the carribean island of Hildalgo. They’re sent to investigate the country’s president who recently closed the nation’s boarders to all American contact. What follows is a well paced infilitration mission that ends with some disparaging results. The ending leaves you wanting more, which is of course the intention.
The atmosphere of The Strangers is the real star as it has a style that is nostalgic but also a breath of fresh air. Very rarely do we get to see people with powers in such a procedural story. The lead angle is that The Strangers live in a world of espionage. The fact they have powers is secondary. The dialogue is first rate. The visuals fit the tone of the book perfectly.
The double edge sword of it all is that the first printing of the actual series. Not a sampler. Not a reprint of something that was available before. This was the honest-to-goodness 1st issue of The Strangers. Issue 2 is slated to come out in July. So if you got this book on Saturday, congrats, you got a complete #1 issue. But if your store didn’t carry it or you were too late to get one, it’s going to be very difficult for you to get your hands on it now. But like most things, if you ask around and do a little detective work you might be able to find one. (Editor’s Note: Turns out issue one will be on Sale in July along with issue Two and will have connecting covers.)
If you get the chance, see if you can track down a copy of The Strangers #1 if you didn’t get to pick it up on Free Comic Book Day and be sure to check out issue #2 when it hits comic stores this July. The Strangers may only let you see them if they want you to but I’m thinking they’ll want you to see them now.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!