Author Justin Jordan describes his new series The Spread as “Lone Wolf and Cub in a world where John Carpenter’s the Thing ate North America.” I have a confession to make: if you want my attention and quite possibly my undying devotion, all you have to do is list The Thing as an influence. I picked up the first issue of The Spread this past weekend and I’m already getting excited for the next one.
As of now, all we know is that the titular “Spread” is some sort of life form that has overrun the earth. It’s organic-looking in nature, though bright red and it actually does resemble the creature from The Thing, albeit when it isn’t impersonating someone. How much of the planet is covered by the Spread is anyone’s guess, but I’d say probably most of it as law and order have completely broken down. Groups of bandits and criminals roam what’s left of the country unmolested, preying on anyone who crosses their path, all the while avoiding being completely consumed by the malevolent Spread. It’s in this barren world, seemingly devoid of all hope and order that we are introduced to our protagonist: a man simply named “No.” No is a man of few words, who seems content to let the hatchets he wields do most of his talking for him. Though we don’t know much about him yet, No seems to be a wandering force for good, as evidenced by his willingness to risk his life against bloodthirsty packs of criminals for defenseless travelers. In this issue, No comes into possession of a newborn baby named Hope and soon finds out there’s something special about the child. Something that may be able to combat the ever-encroaching Spread and maybe turn the tide for the human race.
The Spread‘s story is revealed through sparse narration and dialogue which fit the mood of the world quite nicely. I believe in a future such as this one, people probably wouldn’t be in a very conversational mood. Justin Jordan manages to tell us a lot in a very few words, but it’s still only enough to keep readers hanging on about where The Spread is headed.
Kyle Strahm’s art is on par with Jordan’s writing, utilizing a somewhat reserved color palette that only serves to make the bright red Spread look that much more alien. The story takes place in the far north somewhere, as evidenced by the snow-covered landscape (further drawing comparisons to The Thing) and despite the lack of detail that snow drifts can provide even the most talented of artists, The Spread is a beautiful comic to look at.
I’m very interested to see where The Spread‘s story goes and I’m already eagerly awaiting issue number two. To find out if your local comic retailer carries the series, click here.
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