Writers Anthony Montgomery and Brandon Easton
Artist Jeff Stokely and Jey Odin
Cover art by Brian Denhem
Colors by Dawnsen Chen and Rashad Doucet
Letters by Adam Pruett
Published by Antarctic Press
This is an interesting project that I picked up awhile ago. It’s an original graphic novel, based on character created by Anthony Montgomery, the actor who is likely best-known by comic-book and sci-fans for his role as Travis Mayweather TV show Star Trek: Enterprise. Now some of you may be asking, what does an actor know about writing comic-books? Well, don’t worry, he enlisted award-winning comic-book writer (for Watson and Holmes) Brandon Easton (who also wrote Shadowlaw and The Joshua Run).
Admittedly it starts off a little confusing for me. There’s an opening page of text which gives us the background of the main character and his world. It says that it takes place in the year 2089 on another planet called “Future Earth,” which is similar to ours, except super-powered beings exist. Then in the story it pretty much just looks like our present-day world, so I’m not sure why the distinction was even made. The main character is Maxwell Miles, a 16 year old orphan (his parents were killed in a mysterious accident), who lives with his grandmother and his bratty little sister Rienne. Maxwell was born with a special power, he has super-photographic reflexes. He can do anything he sees other people do, but the ability is only temporary (and takes 5 minutes to kick in). Maxwell’s best friend is a chubby kid named Dwayne, who is the only one who knows about Maxwell’s secret ability (or so they think…), and often goads Maxwell into showing off. We see Maxwell using his ability to win a rock-climbing competition, and then later single-handily beats 5 of the best players in his High School basketball team, in front of the whole school. There’s a nice subplot where Maxwell has a crush on the prettiest girl in school, Tiffany, but is too shy to approach her. And when she approaches him after his basketball game, he’s so in shock that he can’t speak, and so she assumes that he is too stuck-up to talk to her and walks away. That’s like right out of a scene from early Spider-Man or Static, I loved it.
Meanwhile we’re introduced to a mysterious super-villain called Madam Iniquity, who has some nefarious plot for world (and galactic) domination. She sends a couple of supervillains to attack the HQ of a government organization named the Bureau of Ultimate Underground Technology (get it?), which specializes creating advanced technology to deal with supervillains, to steal a Weapon of Mass Destruction, which they do in an action-packed sequence. The villains later stage an attack at a local mall, where Max, Rienne and their grandmother happen to be shopping. When the attack begins, Max races off to find his grandmother (forcing him to leave Tiffany, whom he was trying to talk to, and who assumes he’s running away because he’s a coward), and puts on a cape and cowl to hide he’s identity while he uses his abilities to save people and fight the villains.
That’s the main story, taking up the first 51 pages, and it’s very good. Like I said, it reads like a classic teen superhero story. We’ve got the introduction of the hero’s supporting cast, exciting new villains, a potential love interest, see the troubles that the hero has to go through to maintain his secret identity (which I think is a necessary plot for superheroes), and several other mysteries (what happened to Max’s parents? What’s their connection to B.U.T.T., and is there more to his grandmother than meets the eye?) that are waiting to unfold.
Then the story switches to another planet 20,000 light years away from Earth, and takes place completely there, with no further appearances by Max or his friends. We’re taken to the planet Ro-Twyla, which is much bigger than Earth, and where the Kingdom of Harmonia had advanced over the centuries to become a virtual paradise. We learn the story of a war fought between another nation and it’s inhabitants, and the story of Harmonia’s royal family, part of a canine-like alien species. And then we see them fall before the forces of Madam Iniquity, whose next goal is the conquest of Earth. That takes up the 2nd-half of the comic, pages 41-99, and it’s an interesting story of itself, a vast sci-fi space opera adventure. But it felt like an entirely different book. Like basically this was two separate stories matched together. The connection was not readily apparent, but I guess that is left to be seen in the future, if this series continues.
So it’s definitely a well-written and exciting book. Jeff Stockely draws the first 25 pages, and then Jey Odin draw the rest. Stockely’s art was a bit cleaner, it had an almost animated feel too it, and I wish he could have drawn the entire book. Oden’s art was a little rougher, but still serviceable. In the back of the book, Montgomery writes about the development of the concept of Miles Away over the years, including showing many early versions of artwork, behind the scenes of how the comic was produced, and his various efforts in getting the comic made. He always provides character descriptions, which includes spoilers of what is due to happen to several of them (he probably should have left some of that out). I hope we get to see more of this character, either as comic-books or perhaps an animated series, because I like the potential that was shown here.