Alan Smithee

Malignant Man #1 – Review

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It’s not often that I come across a comic that makes me feel empathetic in the first few pages of reading it, much less one with a title as iffy as “Malignant Man”.

Well for a first issue this comic does exactly what it should. It makes you care about the main character.

Alan Gates, a terminally ill cancer patient who is essentially just waiting for his inoperable brain tumor to end his life decides on the same day that he is told that there’s nothing more the doctors can do to help (since the chemotherapy had no effect) that it would be a good day to do a heroic act and help a lady and her child being mugged.

This does not go well for Mr. Gates who is summarily shot and should have zero chance of recovery until strange things begin to happen around him…

I didn’t quite know what to expect from this new series from James Wan (you might remember him from the Saw franchise), but I can tell you that I really enjoyed reading the issue and will be looking forward to the next issue to explain more about Mr. Gates’s condition and a little more backstory as to why we should be invested in this character.

The writing we get from Michael Alan Nelson is a perfect example of good and solid scripting. Not once while reading this book did I feel bored or confused as to what was going on. The foreshadowing of events to come is done so subtly that I didn’t really see what was coming in the following pages…which I have to say, being surprised at things isn’t commonplace enough for me anymore.

The only problem that I had with the issue would have to be with the pacing. While in no ways boring, I felt they could have gotten to where the book ended at a much earlier juncture. But other than that, Mr. Nelson’s work was exemplary.

However, I have to say that the shining beacon to attract everyone to this comic would have to be the stunning work by Pitor Kowalski. When establishing Alan as the protagonist, and showing us how soul crushing it must be to live life as a terminal cancer patient, Mr. Kowalski uses colors that create the gloom that someone in that position must feel.

STORY: 85%
ART: 93%
OVERALL: 89%

Nowhere else does his artwork come through as spectacular as in the later scenes of the comic where we learn more about Mr. Gates and get some particularly gruesome action that ties the whole experience into a nice tight package.

For an initial outing, this comic really does have it all.

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