When most people think of Zenescope Entertainment they think Grimm Fairy Tales, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Most of their content is related to Grimm Fairy Tales, classic monsters, Alice in Wonderland, and things like that. We don’t often think of them as having creator-owned titles, but every once in a while they put one out like they did last week with The Mainstream #1. Created by writers Michael Dolce (also the letterer) and Talent Caldwell, artist Tony Moy and Darren Sanchez, this five issue mini series featuring colors by Jorge Cortes follows law enforcement agents Nate and Dex as they investigate an increasingly complex murder.
So what did I think about this first issue?
I’m going to more or less avoid big spoilers here. Basically, the issue opens with the murder taking place as the basic premise of the world the comic takes place in is explained; that there are alternate realities to our own and that it’s possible for someone to move through them. We quickly meet Nate and Dex afterwards and discover that Nate seems to have some special ability that Dex is aware of and trusts him with. Using his power, Nate is able to figure some things out and before we know it both him and Dex are hurled into some high tech trouble and we’re introduced to some more mysterious characters before the issue wraps.
The writing serves to push the story forward at a pretty breakneck speed. A lot happens in this first issue. I’d argue that maybe too much happens. There isn’t enough breathing room to really get to know Nate and Dex that well before the story takes off. One of my favorite bits in the whole comic happens when the two of them are trying to work out details on the murder and Dex brings beer. Nate says how Dex should know he doesn’t drink beer, and Dex replies with, “Who said I brought any for you?” It’s a nice little bit. I feel the issue would have benefited from a few more bits like this for me to get to know the characters better rather than being as plot heavy as it was.
The interior art for small publishers like Zenescope can be hit or miss. This is some of the better, more interesting line work I’ve seen from the publisher. Where as Tony Moy isn’t as sharp and refined in his line work as I’ve seen done with similar types of sci fi comics, he makes up for it somewhat in his stylization. It’s also elevated by Jorge Cortes’ colors which keep the it pretty dark and moody.
Overall, this is a pretty solid first outing from a creator owned comic at Zenescope. While I tend to gravitate towards more character driven than plot driven narratives, I acknowledge that’s a personal preference. If you like sci fi comics building towards some interesting twists and turns, it’s definitely worth a read. I wish we got a little bit more of a hint as to what’s in store next, which leads me to believe this may read better in trade, but we should all have a better idea where this is going on May 30th when issue #1 hits. Issue #1 of The Mainstream is available now!