Relay #1 - AfterShock Comics
Written by Zac Thompson
Art by Andy Clarke
Colors by Jose Villarrubia & Dan Brown
Letters by Charles Pritchett
Story by Zac Thompson, Eric Bromberg & Donny Cates
How do you define what you believe? Is it a story you were told by someone you trusted when you were younger? Something that you've read? Something that you can see? Everyone seems to define belief differently, and also holds on to that belief differently. Enter the world of relay, and the belief in someone that has never been seen and a world that has never been discovered. Let's see how that faith gets tested.
The story follows a Relay officer named Jad, who strongly believes in a man named Donaldson. The belief is taht Donaldson put a Monolith somewhere in future Los Angeles that is meant to unify worlds in conformity to...well...pretty much everything. Problem is, no one has ever seen Hank Donaldson or can even prove that he existed. Part of the mission of the Relay is to find Donaldson, but as you read on, you find out that's not all they do. As you can imagine, even in this first issue, we encounter some that believe in the word of Donaldson and some that don't. While I won't spoil anything, I'm sure you can imagine where that goes. Even some members of the Relay themselves question it for various reasons. Jad is unwavering in his belief, even when the world around him seems to disagree. That is very much what this first issue is about, with a couple of twists and turns along the way. Jad, and fellow Relay members Victoria and William, eventually start off on another journey to an undiscovered world. The tease at the end of this first issue seems to imply that we won't have to wait long for a major reveal, leading into future issues.
Much like the belief in Donaldson itself, as I was reading this, I couldn't quite put my finger on how I felt about it. While the story was interesting, and certainly drew parallels to other religious belief, I never felt completely hooked. I also went back and forth on how I felt about Jad. We don't really get a solid back story on why he believes in Donaldson so strongly, and maybe that is what gave me pause. The tone is definitely set for the story as a whole, but nothing specific stood out to me. It's almost like when you join a movie that you haven't seen about 15 minutes in. You can follow it, you may even enjoy it, but something feels incomplete. Granted, this is very much the first chapter of this story, and those answers could certainly come in time. The art felt very retro to me, and I think it could look amazingly authentic if this book was printed on newsprint. If I'm being honest, I am very on the fence about Relay. The idea of the story still has me intrigued, but I still need more to really want to continue.
RATING: PICK UP