Author: Aron Warner, Philip Gelaff
Artist: Brett Weldele
Publisher: Sea Lion Books
Brent Marks is not a freak. He is one of the Pariah, a group of teens who become extremely intelligent after being cured of a genetic disorder. Although in most ways a normal teen, Brent is considered dangerous and is tracked down by the government who see these kids as an enormous threat. Can he evade them? What do they have planned for Brent and the others?
Aron Warner is the Academy Award®-winning producer of the animated blockbuster “Shrek” series. Mr. Warner joined PDI/Dreamworks in 1997 working as the producer on the animated film, Antz. He is currently in partnership with director Andrew Adamson in Strange Weather where they and partner Jeff Fierson are developing a slate of live action and animated feature films and television shows. He, producing alongside James Cameron, just wrapped the Untitled Cirque Du Soleil 3-D project, which was written and directed by Adamson. Pariah is his first graphic novel series.
The first thing I noticed about this comic was the artwork. Weldele chose to eschew the traditional comic artwork for a more dreamy, lush style. It works well to help the comic stand out, much as the main character of Brent does. It's gorgeous to look at and to me, was one of the best parts of the issue. It's more true to life than the traditional styles are, yet still reminds you that you're reading a comic.
The story of this is so far rather simple in design, which works for and against it. People looking for a ton of action will be slightly disappointed by the first issue since so much of it surrounds Brent trying to fit in at his school and appeal to a female friend. There's an ever present hostility due to the widespread public dislike of the Pariah, but that doesn't really come into play at first. By the end of the first issue I was hooked, but I have a feeling that this isn't going to be as well-loved as your average mainstream comic. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. Some of the best comics have been ones that have taken the comics world by surprise.
Overall this is something that's going to appeal more to readers of comics like Sandman or Bone. As the series unwinds and shows more of its wares I'm sure that we'll see more action, but this looks to be a comic that will appeal more to our human sides than the Michael Bay part of our brain.
3.7 out of 5 stars
(Reader copy provided by Sea Lion Books)