"Spread #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Justin Jordan
Illustrated by Kyle Strahm
2014, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on July 9th, 2014
Just once I'd like to read a story about the future that isn't filled with bloodthirsty monsters or zombies. Maybe there's a version out there where everything is pretty cool, kind of like Wall-E. I would love to live in that world, being transported everywhere in a comfy chair and eating through a tube. I'm off topic already. Things are not all that hunky-dory in Spread. The world is overrun by the Spread, a strange virus that has infected just about everything, spreading large mounds of muscle, blood, bone across the land. The few survivors are scavenging for supplies while avoiding being consumed or taken over by the Spread.
Then there's No. He has that name because he doesn't say much. He's Spread immune, so he can't be infected. He can still be killed though, by being cut up or eaten. On a routine trip for supplies, No finds a baby aptly called Hope who may hold the power to stopping the Spread once and for all.
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The world of Spread is harsh. This debut issue jumps right into the action, with No first battling a possessed man and then a group of thugs. It doesn't take long to figure out that he's a complete badass. He sports an Army jacket, so he may be ex-military. Artist Kyle Strahm's design of No makes him look a bit like Wolverine, which would make sense as that's a character that would survive in this type of environment. Although he doesn't say much, No conveys a lot through his eyes. Despite his gruff exterior, there's a lot of sympathy in those baby blues. When he recognizes someone in a group of corpses, he takes a moment to close their eyes.
No's appearance is a stark contrast to Hope's. She's depicted as not much more than a little sack with a big head sticking out of the top. Her skin is pure white and seems to shine, even when it's covered in blood (not her's. Relax). She's everything that No isn't, so they become an unlikely pair.
The story itself is told from Hope's perspective. She's narrating this from the future. This immediately reminded me of Saga, another Image title that works along the same way. That's definitely not a bad model to follow considering how successful Saga has been. There's nothing wrong with this, but you know that Hope gets through this, so there's little danger to the baby. Obviously the same cannot be said of No.
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Spread is the bloodiest comic you'll read this week. The Spread itself is terrifying. It's like a bunch of people were turned inside out and given tentacles. It's a crawling mass of blood and sinew. Between the massive spike-covered masses and the infected, I can't tell which is worse. While the former is what I'd expect the mind of a madman to look like, the latter is the stuff of nightmares. Picture a totally normal person who appeared dead a moment ago. Now picture a mouth with sharp teeth forming in each of his eyes and flying out of his face, lunging to bite the shit out of you. Good luck sleeping tonight, kids.
There's more to Spread that has yet to be revealed. The true origin of this epidemic is still somewhat of a mystery. The press release announcing the comic talks about something ancient being unleashed when humanity dug too deep. I'm interested to learn how the quarantine zone is set up as well. Is North America cut off from the rest of the world? How far did the Spread spread? Judging from this issue, it's evolving, but so is mankind.