Comic Review: Collider / Author: Mike Garley / Release Date: Out Now
Collider opens with Peter Ansay, a young genius in quantum physics, questioning CERN’s work in Switzerland. CERN are on the verge of a tremendous breakthrough, hoping the Large Hadron Collider will create and maintain miniature black holes. Peter says different. His research proves the manufactured black holes will grow at an exponential rate and destroy the world. After being publically humiliated and scientifically discredited, Peter tries to sabotage the Collider. But something goes wrong and Peter is thrust into the future, Geneva, Switzerland, 2018.
Geneva, 2018, is a rough place to be. The world has been ravaged by natural disasters and mankind is at war with the Unknown. Peter wanders a derelict hotel - one which is oddly familiar - and soon encounters five strangers (Alisha, Luke, Fiona, Carlos, and Lucia) who, like him, have been dragged through time with their own stories to tell. Outside the hotel, Geneva resembles a post-apocalyptic ruin and anybody who tries to leave disappears into the dark, taken by the Unknown. After brief introductions, accusations and counter-accusations, Luke - plucked from the streets of New York - yanks out a gun. “Until we know exactly what’s going on, no one’s going anywhere!” he proclaims, and Collider is off to a brilliant start.
From here, each issue is devoted to one of the six central characters, essentially delving into their back-story while giving a different slant on the events of the first issue, effectively replaying the final scene of issue one, but coloured with personal thoughts and prejudices. As we learn more about the characters we see that each have their secrets, their weaknesses and strengths. Some can be trusted, some need to be watched.
This is a bold approach for a new series to take and not without risks. Repeating the same scene tempts frustration in a reader and when coupled with five (no less) different artists, the problem is compounded. Historically, sharing artistic chores in a new series creates a disjointed look, characters differ from page to page, panel to panel, and styles vary.
Yet, clearly that’s not the case. For the most part, R H Stewart, Gareth Gowran, Jack Tempest, Will Pickering, and Martin Simmonds’ art is smooth, complements the different styles and becomes a perfect accompaniment to Mike Garley’s script.
The interesting thing about Collider is that it’s not just a graphic novel, but rather a sci-fi multiplatform project. Which basically means they’ve embraced the internet in all its varied forms. A number of pre-comic webisodes are available to watch and the Collider site boasts a mobile phone game to play. Although judging by the comments box there appears to be teething problems in this area.
All these little extras combine for a pleasant diversion. It’s fair to say that Collider is an ambitious project. It has the potential to be big (really big) and already has plenty going for it: the webisodes, the game play, the comic, strong writing, and equally strong art.
One to watch.