Collapser #1 (DC Comics)
DC’s Young Animal imprint hit a few setbacks when it first launched, but things seem to be back on schedule for the new and improved version. The second of the titles being released, Collapser finds a young DJ struggling with anxiety being given the power of a black hole in his chest, and yes, it’s as trippy as it sounds. But seeing as how this is from Mikey Way and Shaun Simon, it’s not that much of a surprise.
Liam James is a down on his luck DJ who has crippling bouts with anxiety. He wakes up, goes to work as an orderly at a rest home, goes home, and sometimes has a DJ gig that allows him to really cut loose and live out his dreams. But after a mysterious package from his estranged mother arrives, weird things start to happen, and they reach a head during his big gig at a local club. After rushing home in despair over his failed gig, Liam has a strange dream where he meets an extraterrestrial being. Then he wakes up three days later, realizes that his life is not what it once was, and that there’s a giant black hole in his chest.
Mikey Way may not have the comic book pedigree that his brother Gerard does, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from this issue. Way’s pacing and character work is pretty rock solid on this issue, and he wisely keeps the mysterious box and Liam’s new powers under wraps throughout the issue. It’s clear that this is a story that means a lot to Way, and he’s poured a lot into the characterization of Liam.
Shaun Simon’s art is really trippy, even when there’s no crazy cosmic stuff going on. Amazingly though, as weird as Simon’s art gets, it never gets to a point that you can’t follow it. Simon’s style is definitely in line with other titles in the Young Animal imprint, and he easily puts out some of the craziest visuals you’ll see on the stands this week.
Collapser seems to be the start of something really interesting for Young Animal, and it’s probably the most personal story to come out of Young Animal’s imprint. A lot of buzz was made over DC’s decision to close down Vertigo, but this seems like something Vertigo would have put out, so in a lot of ways the future of that imprint could be with Young Animal. At the very least, this is a strong debut issue that has a lot of heart and an interesting hook that should stick with people.