ANALOG #1 / Writer: Gerry Duggan / Artist: David O’Sullivan / Colorist: Jordie Bellaire / Letterer: Joe Sabino / Publisher: Image Comics / Published: April 4th, 2018
Analog #1 is a character-centric first issue in a new Image series from Gerry Duggan, David O’Sullivan, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino. The series is set in 2024, after The Great Doxxing has turned the Internet into an invasion of people’s secrets and search histories. The world has become one larger surveillance state and our protagonist, a ‘Ledger Man’ Jack McGinnis, played a big role in how the world became this way. The book heavily implies that the events of his past are coming back to haunt McGinnis and other Ledger Men.
There are three major time periods in Analog :2024, 2020, and 2018, but we are only shown two so far. We are merely told The Great Doxxing occurs on Christmas 2020. The present time is filled with Jack’s supporting cast which includes: Vince, a bartender who hates technology because of his daughter’s suicide; Oona, Jack’s guardian angel; and Old Man, Jack’s estranged father.
Jack is the strongest element of the book, which is filled with his narration boxes. There’s a strong humor to his thoughts, alongside some cynical commentary on humanity. The book is littered with great quotes of loathing like “I tell myself I did the right thing, but I drink like I fucked up”. We also get a sense of muted optimism, which is a nice touch to make Jack more multi-dimensional.
I believe my favorite character of Analog is actually the antagonist, though. In 2018, we are introduced to Allan Oppenheimer. Allan is the creator of the largest digital platform ever, which he believes will be the future of removing broken governments from the world. In another book, he could be the revolutionary protagonist. In this one, he uses his platform to help a warlord come to power. Still, in his limited page count, he manages to make the biggest splash.
McGinnis’ hatred of Oppenheimer comes across strongly in the narration boxes and to a lesser degree in his dialogue; when asked his opinion on something, McGinnis replies, “I am sure there is the right answer, my clever bullshit answer, and the one you’re dancing around.” It’s implied the events of 2018 lead to The Great Doxxing so I really hope we get to see more into Oppenheimer’s character.
Gerry Duggan is a creator I rather admire. In my opinion, he’s written the definitive Deadpool run, spread out over the core title, several minis, creative Infinite digital titles, and even an Avengers title. He also wrote one of my favorite issues of 2017, the Peter Quill-centric All New Guardians Of The Galaxy #5. I also have a fondness for colorist Jordie Bellaire, but this is my first exposure to David O’Sullivan.
Analog is a showcase for O’Sullivan’s art. The world is extremely well realized. O’Sullivan illustrates the future surveillance state world in a variety of ways; cameras everywhere, a lot of aerial drone-like angles, and a heavy presence of monitoring tech in the wardrobe of the general population. Jordie Bellaire does a good job of contributing to this world by applying a heavy neon glow of technology to the world.
O’Sullivan also uses heavy sketch lines when drawing nature, which works really well when mixed with his snow. He has the snow fall in a variety of lines and dots, while Bellaire applies a bluish-white haze to the page. This all blends together in a wonderful way.
O’Sullivan’s character work is also very strong. The characters constantly seem in a state of motion, whether that’s moving or gesturing, and this conveys a sense of weariness when they aren’t as animated after taking a beating. His faces are also quite expressive, even when condensed down. The angle choices used to convey McGinnis’ humor, or threats, are top notch in how they emphasize either his words or facial features.
There is also strong camera work during the action scenes, further enhanced by Joe Sabino’s letters. Bellaire uses a faded color palette, but Sabino’s sound effects during fights are bold and convey a strong direction of sound.
Bellaire also uses a variety of lighting effect to emphasize the shadows of the espionage world. This involves vehicles under street lamps, the reflection of color on surfaces, and a variety of digital light sources. My favorite example is the ignition of a lighter. The fire burns blue in the center, orange in the flames, and casts shadows all around. During these scenes, Sabino uses the same muted color palette for his sound effects.
If you’ve read a Gerry Duggan comic, you have a rough idea of what you’re getting going into Analog #1. I would say this is Duggan at perhaps his most subdued, which may be a boon for some. The strong cynical commentary and interesting antagonist will have me coming back.
Art emphasizes script and each part of the artistic team elevates the others. Analog is a showcase for David O’Sullivan and Jordie Bellaire above all else. O’Sullivan makes a huge splash for me here and I definitely want to see more of his stellar world designing.
VERDICT: 4 out of 5 Network Free Zones