Story: Graham Nolan
Art: Bret Blevins
Colors: Greg Wright
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
What They Say:
Four young women are brought together by a mysterious invitation to live in a creepy building in NYC. They soon learn that the building houses a portal to the other twelve known dimensions and that a malevolent creature known as Abraxis has bound these dimensions together, enslaving them to his will. For centuries, the portal has been guarded by a gatekeeper to prevent the evil on the other side from gaining access to OUR dimension.
Now the gatekeeper, Anna Nightlinger, is missing, and the only thing standing in Abraxis’ way is a quartet of young women with powers and abilities they don’t even know they have…for now.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With AfterShock Comics continually expanding with who they work with, we get some pretty solid talents coming in along the way. Graham Nolan charts the course for this series and it’s my first time checking out their work. It’s a solid read that works a familiar storyline but does it with a kind of easy smoothness that charms even while leaving a number of gaps in the narrative as it asks you to not look too close. On a more familiar side, Bret Blevins on the art duties is someone whose work I’ve seen for years. I’ve always had a mixed reaction to his work as there are a lot of things to like here, such as overall character designs and settings, but then we get a scene like the subway and our two leads just can’t stay on model to save their lives.
The premise for this book focuses on bringing four young women together to New York City thanks to their benefactor, Anna Nightlinger. She’s gone away for some time and has them watching over her classic haunted house style home in the middle of the city for her while they pursue their interests, such as F.I.T. and so forth. The main focus is on Abby, coming from Key West, where she’s never been away and is just fascinated by what this city actually is. She’s joined by Cece from the west coast, Nadira from the Bahamas, and Savannah who I don’t think said where she’s from. Abby’s the last one to arrive and meet with the attorney that’s handling all of this and through him they’re all set for the place with some minor rules additions; keeping the dog Pitch alive and staying out of a particular locked room that has antiques in it.
The girls’ bonding aspect is what makes up the first issue as they do talk a bit about where they’re from, but initially, it’s about Abby and Cece bonding over surfing and going out to do just that. It’s their ride back that’s the focus on the subway as they get accosted by some street toughs looking to take advantage of them. That they’re wearing their swimsuits on the train doesn’t help in the slightest but it becomes a moment where both young women end up using magical abilities, first to distort reality and then to send them to some unknown dimension. That just raises more questions upon getting back as the other two reveal their powers and we get more questions about the mystery room that they obviously broke into which seems to have a gateway to other dimensions. Suffice to say, the book throws a lot at us and leaves us with an amusing stinger that was expected but still well-executed.
Going into this book with no foreknowledge about it is always a fun thing and I think Nolan did a solid enough job of establishing the basics, playing with the familiar material, and giving us characters that could make for a fun group to watch for a bit. The setup is standard enough but the execution lets it work and I like that most of them aren’t exactly all showy about their powers, or even admitting that that’s what they really are. Blevin’s artwork has some strong pieces throughout that I really like, and his overall designs appeal, but there feels like there are areas where it just doesn’t hold up and it stands out in a way that’s really hard to gloss over for me. Some of it may be intentional but something about it just didn’t work for me in the subway sequence.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: April 21st, 2021