Title: Black Alpha #1
Written by: Drew Hunt
Artist: Christian Colbert and Tom Rasch
Publisher: Vizion Studios
Black Alpha #1 Plot Synopsis:
Charged to serve and protect the people of the Caratia Star Systems, (or provinces as they are commonly known) The Amariah are one of several factions of the mighty GUARDSMEN, a warrior elite armed and bonded with a CEL SUIT (a bio mechanical suit of armour) that have been destroyed by a mysterious force. In their wake, The Magistrate have ordered the remaining GUARDSMEN CHAPTERS to serve and protect the core systems – leaving the Fringe Territories open to corruption, crime and war… a GUARSMAN has not been seen in these parts for quite some time… until now.
Comic-Book Review: Black Alpha #1
Ascension: Act 1 opens with an explanation of what happened to the Amariah fraction of the Guardsmen, who are the Nova Corps/Green Lanterns of the Black Alpha Universe serving as peacekeepers. We quickly learn that their destruction has led to the area known only as the Fringe unprotected, thus becoming a wasteland of crime and corruption. This is where our hero Tranden aka Black Alpha comes into play.
He enters the Fringe and at first you’re led to believe he is on a rescue mission, but you soon realize that there is more going on. Black Alpha is looking for a ship called The Ascendancy which belongs to the warlord Tul-Brak. However, the ship turns out to be merely a smuggling vessel. I don’t want to spoil the issue for you, but let’s just say there’s a lot of scheming going on by Tul-Brak and we learn why the Fringe is the way it is. And, hopefully once Black Alpha finally comes face to face with Tul-Brak we’ll get some answers to the many questions raised in this issue.
What we do know through a series of flashback and comments from his suit’s onboard computer unit is that Black Alpha is a new Guardsmen and his inexperience shows. (as well as his poor people skills) Or, maybe he’s just this awkward kid forced into an impossible situation and trying his best to cope? An example of this is when he first rescues someone who tries to thank him. Tranden tells him: “Get away from me!” And, later in the issue when he’s on board the pirate ship and saves some others he’s still a bit uncomfortable being thanked by them. This could be a very interesting aspect of the book if played out correctly, but the overall shock of seeing a “Guardsmen” in the Fringe will wear off quickly, once word gets out about Black Alpha’s adventures. But that’s enough spoilers from me.
I wanted to love this book, because I’ve seen Tom Rasch post some amazing artwork and sketches for Black Alpha on Facebook and maybe that’s the problem. While he is the creator of the book, he split the art duties with Chris Colbert. I was hoping for a full Tom Rasch showcase and while Chris isn’t a bad artist, you can see some artistic differences.
My love for Black Alpha faded slightly because of the story. Drew Hunt has cramped as much as he can within a thirty-page comic which isn’t always a good thing. Despite the main storyline being about Black Alpha looking for Tu-Brak, (for unknown reasons) there’s also an unnamed girl lurking around the ship, a mystery involving Black Alpha’s father and brother, and a couple of mysterious guys who claim that a “Black Alpha” has arisen etc…
Which makes you wonder what is a BLACK ALPHA? And, if Tranden is fated to become the Black Alpha, what makes him different from the other Guardsmen? There’s a lot of subplots presented here – too many for a first issue as the end result comes across a bit unfocused. I hope the writing improves and the pacing issues are worked out, because I believe there is a good story to tell here.
The Verdict: Black Alpha #1
BLACK ALPHA #1 is a decent issue with a lot of solid character designs and plenty of story to tell. If you’re a fan of Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, or the Green Lanterns then you will feel right at home reading this, because there are plenty of similarities.