Rating: 4/5 – A Fun “What If” Journey Through the Multiverse.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
Parallel Man tells the story of an alternate Earth (dubbed Alpha 1) where technology was developed to “skip” between worlds/realities along the multiverse. The United States of Alpha 1 used this technology to conquer their planet and move on to annex the Earths of other realities, allowing them to extract limitless natural resources while enslaving billions. Known collectively as the Ascendancy, they now set their targets on annexing our Earth into their growing empire. This wasn’t on the 9/24 “new comics” shipping list from Diamond (I saw a 10/1 release date), but it was on the rack at my LCS, so keep your eye out for it.
The premise of this story drew me in immediately. I love a good tale about alternate realities and “what ifs,” and the opening pages of Parallel Man #1 didn’t waste any time in demonstrating that in this story, our Earth is obsolete. The Ascendancy easily whisks away President Obama (not a fictionalized president, which I thought was a nice touch) and gives him the “there’s no hope, so don’t even try” speech before sending him back to clear the way for their eventual occupation. With that foreboding introduction as a backdrop, the issue quickly shifts to our protagonist, Ascendancy Intelligence Agent Nick Morgan. This issue worked for me because writers Jeffrey Morris and Fredrick Haugen set up the narrative while packing in the action. They also subtly world build as the issue unfolds, alluding to a system of categorizing Earths (alpha, beta, gamma) and that the planets must meet some criteria before they can be annexed by the Ascendancy. Little things like that helped pull me into the story they are building.
Artist Christopher Jones does a great job bringing the many realities to life, illustrating a giant traveling refinery on Chinamerica, dinosaurs on dinoback, and many other outlandish realities. The backgrounds weren’t overly detailed, but his pencils were clean and the details were focused where they mattered. Paired with some beautiful colors by Zac Atkinson, the solid art kept the story moving and kept me interested.
With 36 pages of ad-free story, Parallel Man #1 was a “meaty” debut issue that provided enough set-up, story, and a suitable cliffhanger to clearly dive into the next issue. I loved the small taste of alternate worlds that were shown this issue and I hope to see many more as Morris and Haugen continue to flesh out their characters and ideas. It’s not always easy to hook me with a first issue, but the creative team found the perfect balance between action, exposition and intrigue here that has me definitely planning to return for next issue.
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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