The Resistance #1

by Nick Devonald on March 18, 2020

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
Colours: Frank Martin
Letters: Sal Cipriano

The timing of this comics release makes this possibly the most relevant comic ever to be released. Obviously months in development, the release date was set far in advance, and the timing is a massive coincidence, but still. A global pandemic causing mass hysteria? Sound familiar?

First though we need to take a step back here. What is The Resistance? It’s the start of a six part comic from AWA comics, which introduces a new, superhero shared universe. This first issue focuses on a retrovirus pandemic. The first half of this 32 page comic focuses on the virus and its effect upon the world. It’s skilfully done, while in lesser hands it could have ended up boring exposition under J. Michael Straczynski's masterful storytelling it becomes incredibly moving. The story is told from a number of different perspectives which which has the end result of smaller, human stories making up the whole.

The timing of its release make some aspects of the story incredibly hard hitting. While there are obvious differences between the fictional XV1N1 retrovirus and the current COVID-19 pandemic some of the similarities are a little on the nose. It’s difficult to say what the emotional impact would be if we weren’t currently living through a real life version of this story, but we are and it makes this feel incredibly real and horrifying.

There is one scene in particular, told over two pages, focusing on a couple and their sick daughter. I challenge anyone to read it and not feel a tightening in their chest and tears welling in their eyes. Straczynki makes it look so effortless but these two pages manage to tell an entire heart breaking story with the minimum of dialogue.

The pandemic is hardhitting and shows the worst of humanity. It does, however, miss the toilet roll shortage. Perhaps a later issue will cover this aspect of it?

The second half of the comic deals with the aftermath. The survivors of the virus begin to develop superpowers and this is where the new shared universe is born. It’s far too early to say what shape this universe will end up but it’s incredibly intriguing and exciting. Being a mature comic gives us a different spin on the standard Marvel or DC fare, and makes it less restricted with the tales they can tell.

There are other parallels with this comic as well. We have a new president who has obvious parallels with current world leaders. There's a new president who definitely doesn’t have the countries best interests at heart but is good at rallying the people and telling them what they want to hear. Then we have the pandemic, while obviously a complete coincidence, it makes this an incredibly relevant story.

Then we have Mike Deodato Jr.’s artwork. No stranger to working with Straczynki his art is incredible, he brings the people to life and makes them feel real. It helps ground this comic and feel a lot more realistic than the standard superhero universes. So much of the story is told through the characters facial expressions. This is one of the elements that help it feel real. It’s outstanding. It also makes the reality of this virus hit harder than lesser artists might and is one of the defining aspects of the comic. Incredible.

Coupling Deodato’s art with Frank Martin’s colours is another stroke of genius. It helps with this feeling of realism and only enhances Deodato’s work. I’ve never seen more realistic flames or sunrises in a comic. His shadows are used to great effect.

If this first issue is indicative of the quality of this new, shared superhero universe AWA comics are not only onto a winner but they are a publisher to keep an eye on. An emotional, human story, incredible art and colours, this is one of the best first issues EVER published. Probably the easiest 10/10 I've ever awarded. Incredibly excited for the future of this shared universe. The talent involved takes this story to a new level. The coincidental timing of its release and the coronavirus just add an extra layer of drama.

Our Score:


A Look Inside