Comics are a great way to have fun while telling a deeply emotional story. Michael McAdam
writes a wonderful teenage drama/adventure in Spectrum with Jeremy Thew doing the pencils
as well as the inks and Gav Heryng doing the coloring. Spectrum is the story of a teenage boy
named Richie Sorensen. He starts off as a normal high schooler . His biggest worry is coming
to terms with his identity as a homosexual teenager. He has yet to come out to his friends at
school but he at least joined a support group to help him sort through things. But things soon
take an unexpected and abrupt turn. At a school sponsored event to observe the northern lights Richie suddenly develops bizarre powers. Shortly afterwards he is recruited by the government to take part in a program to train meta-humans. In the world of Spectrum, meta-humans spontaneously show up and they are then recruited by the government and trained to be government sanctioned super-heroes.
This story obviously has similarities to X-men and other familiar stories we have seen over the
past several decades. But in this particular incarnation it is handled as a way for Richie to figure out who he is and become comfortable with his authentic self. His super powers and the super-team he is training with are symbolic of the unique talents and perspectives each individual brings to the world. Richie is trying to find his identity. As the writer himself states, “There are people of all walks of life: different genders, races, creeds, beliefs and somehow our hero must find himself while attempting to understand how he is changing, even as the world around him changes as his perspective of it grows.” Richie’s heroics as a superhero are only a part of him and his overall heroic challenge is finding himself. A challenge that I think is very relatable to many people throughout this world.
The cast of characters are very intriguing and ring true. You feel like they are a mix of people you would meet in everyday life. The only spot where I felt the dialogue was a little unnatural was dealing with Richie’s guardians and the government agent. But the rest flowed very well so I will chalk that up to just a little bumpy stretch of road getting the situation set up for our main character to start finding himself. Richie’s friends at school and super-powered teammates all seemed very natural and presented a lot of potential. I especially loved the Spider-man nod on the last page.
Overall I think the artwork is colorful and the story is interesting with a lot of potential. I like the fact that it is trying to be realistic to the life struggles of a teenager trying to figure out who they are. I picked up some sinister rumblings from the government that I hope get developed. But mostly I hope this story allows the characters to play off each other as each one finds their own identity. This is a great story for teenagers or anyone who feels alone or like they can’t figure out who they really are and what their worth is in the larger picture.
Final Score: 5/5
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About Matthew Basile:
Matthew Basile has been dreaming up stories in his head for as long as he can remember. He loved stories of all kinds growing up and has always been enthralled by other worlds. He is thrilled to finally be able to share his own stories with others. Besides storytelling he also loves nature and especially loves combining those two passions. His first novella, Brandon's Fairy Tale, is currently available on Amazon. He is also working on his first comic book called Wolf’s Howl with a Kickstarter coming in October 2018 for it. Matthew currently lives in New Jersey with his two dogs, Molly and Buddy. Follow him on social media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Blog