Review: Pariah #1 by Philip Gelatt and Brett Weldele

PariahCoverPariah #1 is the first comic in a new series following the release of Aron Warner‘s Pariah Volume 1, where we learned about the Vitros, children born of an experiment designed to cure rare and fatal diseases in-vitro. They’re still human, just very intelligent, and like all sub-sets of the population, they’re regarded with distrust. After an incident involving the release of a deadly toxin from a lab where many of them worked as part of a special program, the Vitros were rounded up and sent into isolation.

In this issue, we meet Herman Toulane. He willingly turned himself in when the Vitros were being hunted, thinking he’d find a proper family to replace his dysfunctional one. Now he’s on his way to orbit with a bunch of fighting teenagers. Not exactly what he pictured.

Meanwhile, Lila turns on Hyde. She blames him directly for the deceit of his father, the Secretary of Defense. After locking their immediate problem away, Lila begins to organise the rest of the crew. Herman follows Brent to engineering where they put together a list of other problems. It’s a long list.

pariah1p1
Click through to preview the comic at Dark Horse.

Lila is determined to steer them back to Earth, but Herman isn’t so sure that’s a good idea. Given the fact they’ve been rounded up and shot into space, I sympathise. Herman’s thoughts are dryly humorous here. He still sounds like a kid beneath all those smarts. In fact, what this slice of story continues to demonstrate, is that these are kids or, at the very most, young adults. Sure, they’re beyond intelligent, but they think like kids. They don’t see the larger picture and consequences often have to be learned firsthand.

While they argue politics, their plan to return to Earth is accelerated, by accident, and they have pull together to save themselves. This gives us an opportunity to meet some of the other Vitros and find out what they can do. They’re all scary smart, but in differing capacities and areas of interest. They avert immediate disaster, just, but the cost is high, those consequences kicking them in the guts.

This is a great issue with a lot of substance. The art continues to delight. I actually sat and admired the cover for a while before flipping over to the first page and the loose lines and washed-out colours are just as appropriate this time round. Pariah is a comic I really enjoyed. I like the story and the characters, the way it’s written and the art. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Written for SFCrowsnest.

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