FOREIGN MATTER, VOL. 1
Writer & Letterer: Martin John
Illustrator: German Ponce
Colourist: German Nobile (Issue #1), Ramon Ignacio (Issue #2), Dave Edgerly (Issue #3)
Editor: Ed Kanerva
Publisher: Self-Published (Kickstarter)
WHAT IS IT?
The first three issues of a maxi-series with equal parts action and satire that goes all-out with superheroes, vampires, zombie hordes, and an actual lizard wizard.
Imagine distilling the works of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison into a grenade, then throwing it into a horde of zombies.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The Champion Coalition is a group of metahumans that protect the world from threats of all sorts. Currently, they are dealing with a zombie apocalypse, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Behind the scenes, a supervillain is taking advantage of the situation to frame one of the members of the coalition, sowing the seeds of distrust that grow significantly throughout the community. Tensions rise, blood is spilled and friends become foes.
Meanwhile, a young woman accidentally invites an interdimensional emperor demon into her own realm, resulting in her becoming the first-ever undead metahuman. What are her powers, and how will she use them? And will the Coalition be in any shape to stop her if she becomes a threat?
Martin John is an interesting human beyond this work, but for all his varied life experiences he brings a clear and unwavering passion to his magnum opus.
John is clearly a fan of Alan Moore; every member of the Champion Coalition is a nod to a different work of Moore. Figuring them out is an added pleasure.
The plot moves at a frenetic pace that is such a blast to read. Just hold on tight for the ride.
Gripping action is often balanced with irreverent satire, and there were some genuinely funny moments.
Dialogue is pretty uniform and standard, but it’s simply grounding the story. John’s direction is really to let the art do most of the talking.
German Ponce recently signed with Heavy metal, which, if you are familiar, gives you an idea of the level of talent he brings to this project.
Ponce brings Moebius-level detail to every scene and his style is just out of this world. His technical ability is up there with the very best. He deftly handles superheroes, androids, zombies, space ships, demons, and wizards with a level of confidence that allows them to all occupy the same page, but never feel out of place.
Taking on the responsibility of lettering as well, there is nothing to fault John here in terms of panel placement or font. Everything reads well and flows painlessly enough.
All three colourists, German Nobile, Ramon Ignacio, and Dave Edgerly, do a really solid job giving each page depth and using subtle palette changes to add distinction to each area of the comic.
Nobile set the bar high in #1, but Ignacio and Edgerly maintained the high quality and even allowed their own flair to come through without compromising the overall continuity.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
If you are not a fan of Alan Moore, you will probably be turned off as soon as you see the team on page 2, given the strong references to his works.
The plot moves at breakneck speed at points and, with a relatively large cast, you can get turned around at a few points
Given the plot, there is a lot of violence, particularly a few extremely gory panels. We are talking The Boys levels of gore.
Comprehensive backstories for each member of the Championship Coalition are presented as full pages of text rather than worked into the story naturally.
While the lettering is competent, there's a lack of attention in comparison to the excellent artwork. While it's pure speculation, it seems that a separate letterer would have put a little more love into the work so it integrated with the visuals a little more smoothly.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Fans of comics like Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Morrison’s The Invisibles will appreciate the homages that are present through John’s entirely original work. However, a lack of wider knowledge of those works does not hinder this rip-roaring adventure that throws everything at you.
Martin John and German Ponce are a match made in heaven, and only an artist of Ponce’s aptitude could do justice to the ambition of a script John has put his very soul into. The series has a long way to go, but if this first volume is anything to go by, the beautiful pandemonium is only getting started.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Click one of these:
Available on Kickstarter until the 25th Feb. Back it here.
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