"The Accelerators #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Blue Juice Comics
Written by R.F.I. Porto
Illustrated by Gavin P. Smith
2013, 32 Pages
Comic published in July 2013
The Accelerators started off with a lot of questions. Where did these time traveling “donuts” come from? Why can they only go into the future and not the past? Why is Bertram chasing Alexa through time if they were married? What is going on with this arena in the post-apocalyptic future, where people from different times are forced to battle to the death? The second issue doesn't answer these questions, but it does provide just enough information to keep you going.
That's not to say that no information is given. We're teased with some small tidbits as to what happened before Bertram and Alexa began their chase through time. It seems that the donuts appeared one day and the two of them were on the team that was studying them. Then Bertram learned some things and shit got crazy. People died. Now he's in the way future and can't get home. What those things are has yet to be revealed, but I'm pulled in enough to want to learn more.
Bertram, the military man from the 1960s, is now stranded in the future with Spatz, a 20-something from the 1990s. They're found by some hoodlums and then sold to the Games, the aforementioned arena with people from different eras throughout history. It's setup like a slightly more high tech version of the gladiatorial combat seen in Planet Hulk, with an announcer that would be a skinnier version of Mojo, the villain from the X-Men. Bertram and Spatz are thrown into a 20th century version of the Games and forced to fight to the death against characters such as the Clown, Wall Street, and the dreaded Ballerina. Like Thunderdome, there can be only one winner. Unfortunately for the two of them, Mel Gibson and his anti-semitism are not available to help.
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To keep them in line, Bertram and Spatz are implanted with spinal nodes. These allow the guards to force the combatants to do anything they wish. That's going to be a problem if they want to escape.
This issue is light on the story and heavy on the balls-to-the-wall action. It doesn't take long for the two characters to get thrown into the arena and then they're literally fighting (or in Spatz's case, running) for their lives. Bertram seems to be in his element. He has a sidearm with him and he quickly demonstrates that he knows how to use it. The battles are gruesome with gladiators being stabbed in the throat and having their heads caved in with baseball bats.
Gavin P. Smith's artwork shines in the arena scenes. It's one thing to read pages of people standing and talking to each other, it's quite another to read ones where a ballerina fires an automatic weapon at the reader. The art direction is excellent. Smith pulls in close to show some intricate movements and then pulls back at the right moment to show a huge explosion when things get out of hand. The pacing feels like a movie, which makes sense considering the creators of the comic started as a film production company first.
The Accelerators pumps up the action with the second issue but doesn't answer many of the burning questions that began with the previous chapter. Fortunately, the story is exciting enough to pull you in and make you want to find out more about this bizarre world in which the characters have found themselves. What happened to make America the “capital of the fourth world”? And what's the fourth world?