THE RECOUNT, ISSUE #1
Writer: Jonathan Hedrick
Illustrator: Gabriel Ibarra
Publisher: Scout Comics
WHAT IS IT?
The Recount is a politically-charged crime thriller where conspiracies, revolutions, and murder threaten to divide the loyalties of an entire nation.
A story deeply evocative of Black Mirror's tone and V for Vendetta's theme of political freedom from government oppression.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Moments after the criminally charged and recently impeached U.S. President Anthony Christensen announces his resignation, one of his bodyguards fatally shoots both him and his top secret service agent. Vice President Meredith McDearmon immediately assumes the role of President and hides in an undisclosed location. Agent Barto tries her best to assuage Meredith's fears of infiltration, but Meredith fears for her own safety.
Unfortunately, Meredith's distrust of everyone around her is not unfounded. A conspiratorial terrorist group that dubs themselves "The Masses" want revenge against the corrupt former President Christensen and anyone involved in his election – including his voters. Will the words of a terrorist incite a bloody civil war? And can Agent Barto protect her new President?
There's no stringing the reader along with filler in this comic. Jonathan Hedrick establishes the characters, setting, and stakes in the first two pages with a ferocious straightforwardness.
Gabriel Ibarra delivers gritty, potent art that gives the comic an aura of frightening verisimilitude.
Sunil Gharge's sharp coloring complements the believability of the narrative. Gharge's appropriate gravelly and vivid tones heighten the degree of sincerity The Recount attains.
Letterer Cristian Docolomansky cleverly gives the dialogue's letters a rounded, crooked appearance. This stylistic technique echoes the nervousness and skepticism the characters undergo as they endure conspiratorial chaos.
The plot-driven narrative plows ahead with verve to emulate the urgency and the characters' expectation to take immediate action against the murderers.
Hedrick's cultural awareness in writing the dialogue for The Recount deserves recognition. Still, based on the unreliability of the narrative, Hedrick's authorial political sensibilities remain unclear, effectively projecting the story's feeling of uncertainty onto the reader.
Blood spatters are present and men's assassinated bodies lay askew on the ground, but the murders are not excessively gory.
Ibarra and Gharge's undemanding art style and coloring exacerbate the horrific sensation of The Recount's narrative plausibility.
When President Meredith McDearmon's council all try to offer her advice and she slams her fist on the table, the continuously moving panels perfectly convey the feeling of fearful agitation. The clipped dialogue, expressive art, and rotating word balloons tenaciously impact the reader on this page.
SFX and a grainy art quality rendered when "The Masses" interrupt President McDearmon's television broadcast is visually impressive and almost diegetic.
Uniquely, the villainous group rally U.S. citizens to their cause, not by gaslighting, but essentially through social osmosis. "The Masses" group works as a well-constructed antagonist.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Although the narrative does not explicitly define any one political group, the politics in this comic may come across as heavy-handed for some readers.
Assassinations, attempted coups, and political division definitely feel all too relevant to today's current social climate and will assuredly remind readers of current events. Readers may struggle to mentally separate themselves from the distressing parallels of reality while reading this story.
Death and murder are two major themes in The Recount that cement this comic as a purely mature work.
The foreground coloring in certain scenes uses mustard yellows that are visually too bright. A different, less distracting color choice could have worked more successfully in these few instances.
Agent Barto seems like she is eventually meant to work as a second protagonist, but she feels underutilized in this first issue until the very end.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Political narratives that so accurately mirror U.S. society can prove emotionally taxing to read, yet they can also illuminate ideas that are essential to understand. The Recount integrates political themes found in stories like V for Vendetta and The Purge that innovatively convey the gravity of a situation like a potential civil war. The realistic implications in the plot are terrifying but stimulating.
The Recount will scare you, shock you, and viscerally submerge you into a narrative not too unlike our own society in America. Fright can generate societal cognitive dissonance, and the story makes sure its characters feel the full effects of persuasively corrupt morality. The apprehensive tone of The Recount will leave an ineradicable impression on readers.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Freakshow Princess by Jonathan Hedrick & Ben Worrell
Capable by Jonathan Hedrick & Gino Kasmyanto
The Department of Truth by James Tynion IV & Martin Simmonds
If you like the art:
Graveland by Massimo Rosi and Gabriel Ibarra Nunez
Second Coming by Mark Russell & Richard Pace
Sam and His Talking Gun by Drew Ferguson & Lee Ferguson
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Jonathan Hedrick – Writer
A comic writer who has penned Freakshow Princess, Quicksand, Freakshow Knight, and Capable.
Multitalented: He is also a veteran of the Army and a licensed radiologic technologist.
He lives in Florida and has a cat named Tessa.
Gabriel Ibarra Nuñez – Illustrator
Illustrator of the Scout Comics titles Graveland and
He is the artist for Black River Falls from Atrophy Comic Studio.
Outlander: Hails from Santiago, Chile.
Sunil Ghagre – Colorist
Dream Team: Contributed his artistic talents to Jonathan Hedrick's Freakshow Princess.
He is a freelance comic book artist and has illustrated for many popular publishers like Archie, IDW, Disney, DC, Avatar Press, and Boom Studios.
Outlander: Hails from Nagpur, India.
Cristian Docolomansky – Letterer
A comic book artist who has worked on titles like Zinnober, Facets, and Skies of Fire.
Multitalented: He has also worked as both and inker and a letterer in the comic industry.
Outlander: Also hails from Santiago, Chile.
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All The Recount characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Jonathan Hedrick or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED