"Doppelganger #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Alterna Comics
Written by Jordan Hart
Illustrated by Emmanuel Xerx Javier
Colored by Jordan Hart
2017, 24 Pages, $1.50
Comic released on November 22nd, 2017
Dennis Zimmann is a pushover. His boss walks all over him despite although he's a total buffoon. Dennis just takes it and hopes for the best. At least his wife and daughter love him unconditionally. If he can get over his job issues, his life might not be so bad. Dennis has a chance to realize how much he values every aspect of his life when an alternate version of himself shows up one night. This copy tells him that he has 36 hours to live before this new version takes his life over. It has all of his memories too. The kicker is that if anyone sees the two of them together, they die instantly. There aren't many ways out of this one, so how does Dennis deal with this?
We're introduced to Dennis' life and its utter normalcy before he's plunged into complete terror. This has a Stephen King quality to it, as writer Jordan Hart establishes this world and how entirely ordinary it is and then throws a fast one. It puts you in Dennis' shoes and has you thinking about what you'd do if placed in the same situation. Would you live out your remaining hours doing anything and everything you've always wanted to do? Or will you fight for your life?
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In the scheme of things, Dennis' life isn't too bad. Yes, his job could be better, but he has an excellent home life. It's his family that makes him realize he has to stand up and fight for perhaps the very first time. The sheer thought that he'd never see them again is what fuels him. If his family pushed him around too, he would be less sympathetic and wouldn't have much of a reason to fight. He's just pathetic enough.
The copy looks almost exactly like Dennis, but artist Emmanuel Xerx Javier makes it more menacing to differentiate them. This is a being that's been around for hundreds of years. It's been pulling this scheme for centuries and it has no remorse for stealing lives. It shows on its face. This is a great contrast to Dennis who is all round edges and full of kindness.
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The rules of Doppelganger are so firmly established that there are no immediate ways out. It would be hard for anyone in Dennis' situation to not just give up. The final nail in the coffin comes when the copy shows Dennis what happens to those who see them together. They basically turn into black smoke and vanish, leaving nothing but a pile of clothes behind. Javier captures the moment this happens in a horrifying shot. There's still the basic form of a woman, but the body is evaporating and floating up into the air. It's very unsettling.
Doppelganger has the same vibe as Stephen King's Thinner, although with a nicer protagonist. Here's a man who is living a normal, uninteresting life who is suddenly thrown into absolute chaos. He's suddenly given a reason to stand up and fight for everything he has and everyone he holds dear.