Review: Reactor #1

Donny Cates has recently been one of my favorite comic writers. He is currently writing Redneck for Image, Babyteeth for Aftershock, and both Doctor Strange and Thanos for Marvel, among others. Well, this week you can add yet another credit to his growing list of works as Reactor #1 drops, courtesy of Vault Comics.
.
Now, if you’ve been following Cates’s work, you’ll know that way back in 2015 (seems like forever ago) he and artist Dylan Burnett did a comic for Heavy Metal called Interceptor. Well, Reactor is a continuation of that story, going so far as subtitling itself “Interceptor Vol. 2”. Now, this isn’t the first time comics have jumped from one publisher to another, but I’m glad this was included because I would have never known about the previous work with Heavy Metal had the comic not referenced the material directly.
.
.
I have never read Interceptor, but Reactor #1 does a fantastic job of bringing new and old readers up to speed with a verbal recap by the main character, Poli. The backstory goes as follows: Vampires overrun the world, so the remaining humans go to outer space and nuke Earth, hoping to wipe out all the blood sucking monsters. After learning the vampires evolved instead and know of their new location, a team comes back to the wasteland of Earth to destroy them before they can plan an assault on the space station. Poli, her lieutenant Randolph, and his daughters are able to stop the vampire assault with the help of a human resistance left on Earth. They make some serious progress in saving imprisoned humans and killing vampires, but there is much left to do. Oh, and the president of the humans on their new home, Palus, is an eternal ten-year-old with a King Joffrey vibe going on.
.
So there’s that.
.
.
With Reactor #1, the story continues with the resistance mounting another invasion of a vampire stronghold to destroy King Luc once and for all! Weep, a badass teenage chick in a mechanical battlesuit, is gung-ho to get to killin vamps and she leads the charge to do just that. Big action and colorful commentary ensue. They suffer some setbacks, but reinforcements arrive in the nick of time! But if the prepubescent president has his way, Poli and company  may not have as much help as they think.
.
.
In short, this comic was a blast to read. Although Donny is known for his spot on narrative, the only “narration” is Poli’s speech to their human militia and even that is broken up by Weep, who says “Are you for real going to recap everything?” It’s a nice way to clue in the reader while still keeping it all in context. The dialogue is natural and light-hearted, despite the sci-fi war zone setting, with plenty of “Yippee ki-ay mutha f*****” moments. The vampire guards even have a funny exchange involving the strange Star Wars prequel/ sequel confusion.
.
.
Even more impressive was the artwork by Dylan Burnett and colorist Dee Cunniffee. This was immaculate work. I admit I wasn’t sold in the first few pages because of the stationary scene and a facial style I’m not entirely fond of, but once the action kicked off, I was like “Wow… nevermind.” Explosions and gunfire and spaceships and vampires and all these cool moments just left me wanting more. Dee’s nuts… with how vivid the contrast and color is. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) Also, a special shout out to letterer Taylor Esposito for the versatility of dialogue and onemonapoeia stylings used. This was just a tornado of talent the whisked me away to another world. The difference in artistic tone between the warzone and the kid president’s golf course tells a story all its own. I loved it.
.
.
Aside from minor gripes, this was a fantastic comic blending horror, sci-fi, and action genres to deliver a truly unique experience. The creative team did a wonderful job and I’m so glad the story of Interceptor gets to continue through Reactor #1, in stores today!
.
“SUCK MY GIANT ROBOT D*CK!”, 4.5 out of 5 Stars.
(W) Donny Cates (A/CA) Dylan Burnett
Published by Vault Comics

Leave a Reply

2819 More posts in Reviews category
Recommended for you
Review: Justice League #34

“The People vs. Justice League” Part 1: “Three Rooms” Stan Lee has a great quote...