Alive with the glory of promise: Evil Empire review

The Spectrum

Title: Evil Empire #1

Writer: Max Bemis

Artist: Ransom Getty

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Release: March 5, 2014

Grade: A

It could happen: A world ridden with chaos where a totalitarian government has created a complete dystopia.

Evil Empire, a new comic series from writer Max Bemis and artist Ransom Getty, envisions this world.

"How close to the precipice are we right now in the world we live in? Would we let it happen? More specific to this tale: Would we secretly WANT it to happen?" states the BOOM! Studios' website.

Told through the perspective of an underground rapper named Reese, Evil Empire is the story of a deconstructing society. Reese, an abrasive personality who isn't afraid to stand her ground, is trying use her music to change the way the country operates before hesitantly teaming up with reforming Democratic candidate Sam Duggins.

The issue opens with the words, "Exactly right now, plus twenty-five years. Los Angeles, California." This relative time frame is an excellent way for the comic to withstand the passage time - forcing the reader to consider what life would be like 25 years from the time they're reading it.

After showing the reader how different life is in 25 years, the comic falls back into the main plot to show us the regressive steps that were taken in order to get there.

Evil Empiretakes a modern approach to comics with its relevant vocabulary and interesting panel design. Vulgar language is used in moderation to help keep the comic mature while also shortening words like "because" into "cuz," contributing to a sense of realism and personality to the way in which the characters speak.

Ransom Getty's artwork is stunning. Just a few pages in, Getty flexes his creativity to create a spread of Reese at a concert that mixes in shots of the crowd and close ups of her while using the guitar's amplifier cable as a border to polish off a seamless piece of art.

Toward the climax of the story, a secret service agent is explaining an event when a bright red asterisk cuts off the dialogue. The asterisk is then broken into a smaller panel where it is set next to an equal sign, flawlessly dissolving into a series of flashback panels. This mechanism engages readers and helps cement their perception of time, because the flashback panels are set in the middle of the page and are all the same width.

Though Evil Empire is only Max Bemis' second published comic series, the rookie in him never shows. The writing is fantastic in its depth and flow, crafting added subtext to the plot and panels if you're familiar with his previous comic Polarity or his band Say Anything, while maintaining its integrity even if you aren't. The result is an interesting narrative that is sure to be exciting to read over the next 15 issues, which will be released on a monthly basis.

If the rest of the series is as dramatic and twist-driven as the first issue, then you're going to want to get on board now.

Evil Empire is going to be a series you won't want to miss.