"Charge" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Alterna Comics
Written by Chris Jury and Dan Jury
Illustrated by Adhitya Zulkarnaen
Colored by Pamela Siega
2016, 315 Pages
Graphic Novel released on December 29th, 2016
The first answer that most people give when asked what they'd do with a time machine is to go back and kill Hitler. I just might go back a few months to get a Shamrock Shake at McDonalds. In any case, stories involving time machines can be complicated and more than a little weird. Such is the case in Charge, as a rundown facility on the verge of closure inadvertently creates a conduit for time travel in 1975. It's a one-way trip and their module is the exit, so people from the future start popping up to try to control it as part of a devastating war between two mega-corporations.
While Charge deals with some great ideas, it falls through on the characters. There are about two dozen people that come through this facility and there is little to no character development amongst them. They're little more than cannon fodder once the bullets start flying. Since we're not emotionally invested in their story or their survival, their deaths are meaningless. This is made even more so as a bunch of them look very similar, so it's tough to tell them apart. When they started dying, I couldn't tell which grumpy soldier or hippie scientist was covered in blood.
|Click images to enlarge|
The artwork is a little clunky, with characters that appear flat, almost like paper dolls arranged within each panel. They're often shown in awkward and unnatural positions. They all have the same basic shape with a handful of features swapped out such as glasses or hair color. This makes them like the cards on a Guess Who board.
The bulk of the book takes place in 1975 when six soldiers show up on this energy platform claiming to come from 2017. The scientists take them for their word, maybe because they have guns. They ask a couple questions that go unanswered and then just kind of go with the flow. You'd think if something like this happened that most normal people would have far different reactions, possibly even refusing to cooperate until they get some idea as to what's going on. That's not the case here.
|Click images to enlarge|
There's one twist in Charge about halfway through that can be seen a mile away. It changes things and attempts to ramp up the tension, but as mentioned before, it's tough to care about these characters that we know next to nothing about. The one positive is that it thins the herd a bit, so it gets a little easier to tell everyone apart.
Charge has a good core concept, but gets bogged down by lackluster characters and an increasingly convoluted story. More and more elements are introduced as the book goes on, which takes it further off the rails. By the time the surviving scientists and soldiers are fighting super powered, jet pack wearing super troopers, it's too far gone.