Ever since The Walking Dead has exploded in popularity with both the hit comic book and AMC television show, it seems that everyone has a story about a dystopian future to share. The genre has all but overtaken the Young Adult section at bookstores and comics are now full of futures where everything is kind of dark and grim. Need proof? Just page through the latest issue of DC Comics Futures End and check out the images from Marvel’s upcoming “Time Runs Out” event.
But that doesn’t mean that the genre is all played out. As The Walking Dead continues to prove each month, done right the dystopian future setting can be used to create some outstanding comics that can entertain as well as scare the bejeezus out of you.
Justin Jordan and Kyle Strahm’s Spread is a fine example of just that.
Set in a future where a mysterious outbreak has caused the world to be filled with monsters called the Spread, a man named No has come into possession of the one thing that might be able to save the world: a baby named Hope, whose tears can somehow kill the unstoppable Spread.
Now if parts of that plot seem hardly novel, you would be right. Jordan and Strahm seem to use elements from a large number of series and stories to populate their comic, including X-Men: Messiah Complex, Alien, Lone Wolf and Cub and yes, The Walking Dead. Hope is even the narrator of the series, so you can throw in a bit of Saga too for good measure.
But somehow the two have used those inspirations to create something new that will grab your attention and demand to be read and appreciated. Jordan’s script moves quickly and effortlessly, giving the reader just enough information to get hooked but not enough where all the questions are answered. You can tell right away that there is a much bigger story at work here, something that will be allowed to unfold over time and future issues, which is perfect for a series such as this.
Jordan also smartly leaves a lot of the storytelling to his artistic partner Strahm, whose style is deceptively complex and gritty, like the comic itself. Spread is a visually stunning book that will leave you a bit queasy and thoroughly unnerved, just like the best horror comics are supposed to. The art is the strongest aspect of Spread, with the muted colors of Felipe Sobreiro bringing everything to life in a very subdued way, helping to cause the scarier elements to kind of creep up on you when you least expect it.
Spread #1 is a great debut of what looks to be another outstanding series from Image Comics. At a few points in the issue there are some “been there/done that” moments, but the overall package and possibilities of the story are more than enough to warrant further reading. Don’t miss out and get in on the ground floor now.