It’s a favorite superhero film of Major Spoiler EiC Stephen… but I’m not sure even HE knew it was also a comic! Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Push #1 awaits!
Writer: Adam Freeman/Marc Bernardin
Penciler: Bruno Redondo/Aaron Minier
Inker: Sergio Arino/Aaron Minier
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Scott Peterson
Publisher: Wildstorm Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $3.50
Previously in Push: In 1945, the United States government ses up The Division, an agency that tracks and experiments on people who possess psychic abilities. Each psychic is categorized into a group based on what powers they have: precognitive Watchers, telekinetic Movers, projecting telepath Pushers, sonic-powered Bleeders, psychometric Sniffs, shape-changing Shifters, memory-erasing Wipers, telepathy-blocking Shadows, and psionic-healing Stitches. And they all for for an organization that may have rot at its very core.
Of course, their above-board parts of their mission directives aren’t exactly morally simple, as the first thing that happens in this comic book is an agent called Lucy getting her cover blown and “pushing” a dozen soldiers to shoot themselves in the head. Ranking Agent Lowe calls the mission, realizing that not only were they expected, their target is not at all what it seems to be. Instead of a facility buiding dirty bombs, it’s some sort of research facilitiy, probably investigating the factors that give the Pushers and company their powers.
Oh, also? Their Bleeder used his powers and triggered the facility’s self destruct sequence.
The art in this issue is… very odd. The settings, machinery and backgrounds are really well-done, filled with detail and density of informaiton, but all the characters are very comic-book abstract, looking something like a cross between Derek Robertson and Jim Lee, giving the effect of hand-drawn characters inhabiting a 3-D modeled world. It’s not exactly unpleasant, but it is a little jarring, especialy at first. Returning to base, Lowe is asked what happened by a Sniffer, but rather than tell, he just throws the man his watch and snarks for him to figure it out for himself.
This imbedded flashback is quite brilliant, for a number of reasons: First, it’s handled by a completely different artist, showing us the distorted perspective of Grogan’s psychometric Sniffer powers. it’s also a really great way to deliver the necessary exposition, while giving Lowe some character and setting up the conflict between him and Grogan/the “agency.” It’s very well-handled, and transitions us right into an angry debrief where Lowe meets with his boss and the requisite “jerkface from corporate” character. Since this story takes place in the 1980s, our characters aren’t the primary ones from the movie, but the next phase of this mission introduces Agent Carver (Djimon Hounsou’s Pusher from the film) and sends them to track a would-be insurgent named Noel in a pub in Dublin, where we discover the extent of Lowe’s Shifter ability.
Of all the super-powers in the universe, “turning into Joyce DeWitt from ‘Three’s Company’ ” is not one that I’d considered, but it seems to serve him very well… until he is betrayed by one of his own, the Bleeder from the botched “nuclear plant” mission, making him worry that his own division is working to create their own army of super-soldiers.
Anyone who has seen the film knows about Carver’s loyalties, which means that Ezra Lowe’s fate is kind of a given, but Push #1 has a lot going for it, even with the weirdly mismatched art issues, earning a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. One might even be interested in reading the rest of this miniseries and cross-checking all the foreshadowing and character reveals that build to the events of the film, but that might be an exercise for a ‘Push’ superfan rather than a dilettante. Either way, it’s an interesting prequel story setup, though one that has the usual inherent issues of a prequel in that Ezra is certainly doomed.
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There's something about the art that just doesn't quite gel, but the story builds tension well and it works as a prequel to the movie, albeit with a foregone conclusion.