‘Pariah: Volume 1’ - Advance TPB Review (Don’t Read the Back of the Book!)

Seriously, don’t read it. There are some big spoilers there. One is a spoiler for something that happens early in the first issue. The other is a spoiler for the last page of the trade. Seriously, the twist ending is a bullet point on the back cover. Now, I have read comics that had been spoiled for me without any issue, but I like this book and the twist really works, so it is worth trying to protect yourself from exposure.

So, with that out of the way, let’s discuss this comic. The premise, not a spoiler, is cool. A group of hyper-intelligent teenagers called vitros suddenly find themselves hunted by a society that has marginalized them. Branded a terrorist group, they must work together to clear their name(s). I was hooked by the fifth page.

The structure is one of the strongest parts of the book. Each issue follows a different vitro as they react to suddenly being cut off from everything they took for granted. What this does is show the broader picture without neglecting the individual stories. The characters at the focus of each issue are complex and (generally) likeable. Clearly, they were carefully chosen to represent that portion of the story best. Each of these individual issues can stand on its own strengths, but the whole story is an impressive blend of these smaller stories.

The story here is a good, solid sci-fi look at what it is like to be an outsider. I liked the characters and thought the dialogue made them seem more believable. Little touches remind you that these vitros are smarter than Tesla, but they are still teenagers. The plot is compelling, too. I was completely engrossed in the mysteries and couldn’t wait to find out where the next twist was coming from.

There are two problems that I had with this volume. At a few times, the subtext here does become text, but it never felt like the book thought I was an idiot. It’s not a big deal, but it did bother me a little bit when I reread it. The strength of the rest of the writing explained everything before or immediately after it was explicitly spelled out. Again, this wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t even notice it the first time I read it. The other problem that I had was that it ended before I was ready. I want to keep reading this one, and I know I will check out the next volume when it is available.

Four Unnaturally Acne-Free Teenagers out of Five

For real, don’t read the back of the book.

Ben Rhodes, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor

Favorite Book:  Cryptonomicon
Favorite MovieYoung Frankenstein
Favorite Absolutely Everything:  Monty Python

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