Written by Scott Snyder
Drawn by Jamal Igle
Inked by Juan Castro
Colored by Chris Sotomayor
Published by Best Jackett Press/Comixology Originals
I just got this first issue, of what is creator-owned miniseries from Scott Snyder and Jamal Igle, and we’re introduced to our hero, Dudley Datson, a young Black teenager who happens to be a scientific genius, as he’s unexpectedly standing on stage in an auditorium full of people as he’s wearing nothing but his underwear.
And that’s just page one.
Dudley lives in New York with his widowed father and is attending a special school in Brooklyn for bright young minds who get to work on their own inventions. Dudley is in the process of inventing his own brand of “smart clothes.” If you’re familiar with Marvel Comics then let’s say he’s inventing this universe’s version of unstable molecules, clothes that adapt to the needs of the person wearing them. Among the supporting cast, we get Dudley’s best friend, another teenager named Ohno, who appears to be queer (possibly nonbinary), and is working with Dudley on his invention, and Dr. Shae, Dudley’s purple-haired teacher and mentor. The students are working towards a special presentation where they’ll show off their inventions, which leads us to the incident on page one.
Dudley’s father is suffering from some kind of ailment, which makes working harder for him, but he tries to play it off and be supportive of his son’s education. But Dudley is increasingly worried about him and makes the decision to drop out of the academy to support his father (although with the huge potential for Dudley’s invention, you’d think perfecting it would be the highest priority). Returning to his lab at night to retrieve his samples, he arrives in the middle of a surprising crime scene where he learns that not everyone is what they seem to be. And that’s all I’ll say without spoiling the shocking cliffhanger.
It’s a good set-up issue, introduces the main characters and their world, but still leaves enough mystery to entice us to come back (we still don’t know what this “forever machine” in the title is). Scott Snyder writes Dudley as a relatable teenager that you can identify with, and I’ve long been a fan of Jamel Igle’s art, and it’s top-notch here with the capable assistance of inker Juan Castro and the vibrant colors of Chris Sotomayor. I think if you’re looking for an entertaining alternative to traditional superhero comics, Dudley Datson And The Forever Machine is just what the doctor ordered. I can’t wait to see what happens next!