Got to hand it to Titan Comics. They are coming out in force with their new line up of titles, spanning a wide variety of different genres and tastes. Whether it’s superheroes, time travel, or the supernatural, Titan’s got you covered. Over the past few week’s both Brent Chittenden and Kris Johnson have had their chance to check out #1 issues from the Titan comic line. Now it’s my turn as I was sent a copy of Numbercruncher #1, written by Si Spurrier with art by P.J. Holden and colours by Jordie Bellaire.
Have you ever wondered about the afterlife? Is it heaven in your future? Or does Hell sound about right? What if instead of Heaven and Hell there was just numbers? You’re probably confused by my last question, a question that would make a lot more sense after reading the first issue of Numbercruncher. The book delves into the world of spirits and death but presents a much different place than the pearly gates or the fire and brimstone. In this world, the afterlife is taken care of by the Karmac Accountancy which is run by the Divine Calculator. When you die, you might work for him. That is unless you trick another hapless soul to take your place when they die. That is the predicament that Richard Thyme, a brilliant mathematician and the protagonist of this story, finds himself in. He’s passed on to the afterlife and may’ve found a way to cheat the Calulator. This involves being repeatedly reincarnated within the timeframe of the woman he loves’ lifespan. True Love and cheating death are the driving force behind this story told through the eyes of Bastard Zane, the one man who truly hopes Richard doesn’t succeed as Thymes damnation is his ticket out of servitude.
I know that the previous description is a lot to take on and a bit difficult to visualise. What you need to know is simple. This is a story about characters trying to screw eachother over and numbers. And the characters are key. This is the just first installment of the tale and in it we get the basic set up I described above. We also get some backstory on Zane, our narrator and kind of antagonist to the tale. Zane’s a real bruiser. A classic hood from the streets of London who’s built like a brick shithouse and probably packs a punch just as bad. This guy is big and bad and not someone you want to mess with. But he’s not the brightest, hence why he’s stuck serving the Divine Calculator. His delivery makes some of the most tragic moments for our hero seem almost funny. When you break it down, if you don’t like Zane, you won’t like this book. Thankfully, Zane’s quite a likeable guy and the read is both an easy and enjoyable one.
The art style has a hard boiled feel and really grounds this supernatural tale with a back alley crime feel. It’s like The Goon but with a harder edge. Although this is part of Titan’s “all new, original content” push, the series was printed before within the pages of Judge Dredd Magazine. But this is the new and improved version as not only has the story been expanded (to fit a proper 4 issue mini series format) but is presented for the first time in colour care of Jordie Bellaire. What’s interesting in the colour choice is that only the stuff that happens on earth is in colour while the afterlife is still in black and white, giving the two dimensions a distinct difference.
While not the best number first issue I’ve read in the past couple of months, Numbercrunchers is still worth checking out for the character work alone. Si Spurrier knows how to spin a yarn and P.J. Holden delivers with some enjoyable illustrations that really set the tone for the story. Numbercrunchers hits comic shops today as well as through Comixology.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!
Past Titan Comics Reviews: