Retcon #1

Being a soldier is no joke, and every war brings its own share of consequences. Whether it’s on a global scale or taking only one life, there’s no such thing as a victimless conflict. But hey, it’s not like there aren’t support groups out there, people who have fought the same fight and seen the same horrors; at least, when you’re not a supernatural creature who hunts weaponized paranormal monsters for your shadow government. If you are, than maybe Retcon is for you. Image Comics’ newest supernatural work mixes post-war issues with shape-shifting monsters and just a smidge of espionage and smoking-men to keep you on your toes. A heavy-handed work that pulls no punches, Retcon is a clever twist on the soldier that came home too soon.

The story starts with Chris. Chris is an alcoholic. It had been ten years since he drank but a visit from an old friend tossed him right back off the wagon. Before the rest of the AA attendees can get a word in, he starts spilling his guts. Chris isn’t like everyone else: he was part of a squad of soldiers whose mission was to fight beings whose existence is doubted by most – creatures like genies and ghosts and such. What he doesn’t know is that while he’s chatting up a storm, two of the people in the room have been specifically contracted to keep an eye on him, and it seems his time has finally run out. As a battle breaks out between the three agents, loyalties are suddenly tested and monsters long buried begin to dig their way out.

Retcon #1 is a pretty interesting read, mostly highlighted by the artwork of Toby Cypress. It’s hard to not be immediately attracted to the cover with its thin line work, soft neutral background and sharp contrasting red devil artwork. It’s very reminiscent of James Jean and clearly shows an illustrator with a solid understanding of design and illustration. The interior artwork is just as unusual, following the same ink-over-paint technique that gives the whole comic a wonderful small press vibe. It’s like an art magazine vomited all over the comic but instead of looking like a pretentious mess, it actually adds to the overall work.

Retcon is billed as ‘re-boot of a comic mini-series that never existed’ but, to be honest, I don’t know what that means. Maybe we will be seeing multiple alternative storylines in the future? Maybe this isn’t the real story, but a version of events that have yet to be revealed? Either way, the first issue starts off with a bang and mostly focuses on the three protagonists fighting it out while orders are given from a man behind the scenes. It gets pretty technical when it comes to describing weapons and devious plans, which gives it a sense of realism in an otherwise imaginative world.

While the supernatural angle is the draw, the comic is more of a conspiracy action work than a straight horror. There’s a bit of a Hellboy vibe, but it avoids the dark folklore angle that made the former so popular, instead focusing on a Jason Bourne type of deal. It’s a solid change of pace from your typical conspiracy comics.

With monsters on his tail and a headful of demons, will Chris ever manage to get away from the government? Find out with maybe issue 3 or something, but start with Recon #1 on shelves now!