Writers: Chad Rebmann & Matt Nicholas
Artist: Skylar Patridge
Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A young adult, supernatural adventure comic centered around a mysterious island.
It may be a little early to tell, but I'm getting strong Goonies/Lord of the Flies/Maze Runner.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Six teens notice tattoos only they can see have appeared on their body. They point somewhere in the direction of the ocean. What else can they do but heed their call?
When they get there, they discover their destination definitely has a history to it, and likely some danger.
But why were they called here? Can they survive the dangers of the island and protect its relics – ancient, magical artifacts from a world lost long ago? And can they survive the danger that is each other and the myriad other things they haven’t even planned for?
The cover for this first issue not only introduces you to the cast of characters, it also subtly shows off the iconic tattoo for those perceptive enough to spot it.
Speaking of the cast, we get some really strong representation (something Vault seems to keep in mind for all of their titles). We have people of color, people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, strong female characters, someone who has cancer...and they all have different interests and personalities, not all of them good! Whether that last part is just setting up the heroes and villains of the group or not, it's fantastic seeing so much depth and nuance in a cast – I hope the rest of the series maintains those characters' unique facets.
Vladimir Popov uses bold, vibrant colors in this title, likely representing the young spirits of our characters. We see Derek (in the below page) in the hospital. Like most hospitals and clinics, the colors are inoffensive and sterile. His hat, a representation of himself and his interests and his spirit, stands out with its bold blue and white and orange. And these colors are juxtaposed against the next scene's garish purple and green. This is used time and again throughout this first issue to help create division between scenes, switching between times of day or interiors and exteriors to show the passage of time or a shift to a different character.
Maybe this is a weird thing to pick out, but I appreciate Skylar Patridge's attention to detail when it comes to representing someone with no hair on their face or head. I figure that's not something a lot of artists practice, especially in a medium that tends not to showcase people with ailments like Derek's.
I'm not sure who is responsible for it, but the splashes of ink on each page, mostly in the margins, is a smart way to give a bit of grit and texture to its overall aesthetic.
Deron Bennett's representation of an earthquake through sound effects is smart, and works really well, avoiding blurry art or multiple panels needing to convey the same thing.
As a reader, I appreciate the characters all using each other's names. Especially this early on, it helps me learn them while they're all still new.
I'm interested to see who everyone's favorite character is. I'm #TeamTristan. I love her purity, especially in the rare times when the character breaks her more controlled demeanor.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
The story definitely has a YA vibe. If that's not your thing, you might want to wait until the trade comes out before you can be sure you want to read this one.
The first issue has A LOT of set-up to do, so we don't quite get into the thrills and magic and mystery promised to us by the PR just yet. HOWEVER, this is only the first issue, and a lot of it is spent doing the necessary set-up: introducing us to the cast of characters at the same time as giving us necessary backstory and setting up the road ahead. It's an important foundation, and it's admirable how much information the team is able to fit into a single issue.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
I want to describe Relics of Youth as "CW-like, but in a good way," but I'm worried that won't convey the charm and the hooks its mystery sets for us.
The pretty characters and the archetypes they represent and the way each talks all feel rooted in the Young Adult genre, but accessible to all ages.
Yet, you have to remember that this is a Vault book – while it plays within the boundaries of its genre, it also plays without them. Even the characters call out the expected and subvert them (to humorous result!) in this issue.
Expect a new spin on the genre you love, crafted by an incredibly talented team.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Power of the Valkyrie by Chad Rebmann & Craig Tueng
Teen Tians: Raven by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo
Falconhyrste by Melissa Capriglione & Clara W.
If you like the art:
Volume by Christof Bogacs & Skylar Patridge
The Resurrected by Christian Carnouche & Crizam Zamora
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Chad Rebmann – Writer
Is a big fan of Star Wars and classic film
Dream Team: Chad was brought on to co-write Matt Nicholas's idea for this comic. This is Chad's first time co-writing a comic.
Matt Nicholas – Writer
Multitalented: Is also a screenwriter, "currently writing and producing several features which are in development with the production companies owned by Academy Award Winner Viola Davis, Academy Award Winner Mo'Nique, and Gabrielle Union," according to PreviewsWorld.com
New Face: This is Matt's first comic he's written!
Skylar Patridge – Artist
From her website: "Her biggest influences have been from the work of early and mid-20th Century illustrators as well as a variety of comic and children's book artists over the years. She also draws a lot of inspiration from her love of horror films and comics."
Vladimir Popov – Colorist
Dream Team: Also worked with Andrea Mutti on the comic, Control
Inspired by Moebius, Simon Bisley, Frank Frazetta, Robert Crumb, Alex Raymod, Wally Wood and Don Lawrence (according to BrokenIconComics.com)
Outlander: Lives in Serbia
Morgan Martinez (AndWorld Design) – Letterer
Multitalented: Is also an art director & graphic designer
Is a transgender lesbian who goes by she/her pronouns
David M. Booher – Co-Editor
Dream Team: Co-wrote Alien Bounty Hunter with co-editor and Vault EIC, Adrian F. Wassel
Is a self-proclaimed "huge fan of young adult adventure" stories, according to PreviewsWorld.com
Adrian F. Wassel – Co-Editor
Name Recognition: Is the CCO & Editor-In-Chief of Vault Comics, and plays the role of editor on most, if not all, of Vault's titles
Also runs Vault with his brother and father
Has personally helped other comics creators in their endeavors, even for non-Vault comics work
Tim Daniel – Designer
Multitalented: Also does all the design work for Vault Comics
Inspired by others in the business: Sonia Harris, Sean Phillips, and Fonographics
Dream Team: Co-wrote Curse and Burning Fields with Michael Moreci
HOW DO I READ IT?
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