This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Revolver
Published by Vertigo, Revolver was written and drawn by Matt Kindt in 2010, and as near as I can tell was released as a graphic novel first. The wonderful hardcover collection in my hands will set you back around $24.99 at full price, but I picked up a used copy in a sale at my LCS for about $2 (I paid for this out of my own pocket, and happily so).
So what’s the story about?
Stuck in a dead-end job with a boss he can’t stand and a materialistic girlfriend, Sam rises from a late night of barhopping to discover his whole world has changed. Literally.An avian flu outbreak has killed millions, the nation’s infrastructure has crashed and a dirty bomb has destroyed Seattle. Forced to go on the run, Sam awakes to a normal world the next day – and to chaos again the day after that. A single constant between the two worlds will undo all the damage, if he can find it – but that seems impossible. In one world, anything goes. In the other, he’s out of danger and sleepwalking through life. So Sam’s got an even bigger problem: Which world to choose?
Taken from the Vertigo website, the above text is also located on the back of the book, but that wasn’t what sold me on the book. The entire reason I picked this up is because the story was written by Matt Kindt, who is one of my favourite writers in comics today. That it was also $2 was the icing on a very lovely cake for your humble writer.
Revolver can perhaps best be described as a slight blend between the inverse of Groundhog Day and Fight Club where the protagonist wakes up one day in the normal world, and the next day he wakes up in a post apocalyptic world after several bombs have gone off, and the power is failing. The obvious question asked is which of the two worlds our protagonist wants to live in by the end of the book as a choice has to be made.
Kindt takes a somewhat unlikeable office worker on a somewhat introspective journey as he explores what living truly is. Is it a life where you go through the motions because you have to, or is it a life where you need to feel a sense of purpose (not necessarily the danger inherent in the post apocalyptic world). Revolver was far more interesting a read than I expected, but it’s when you sit down and just think about the book afterwards that you realize just how deep a story it actually is. The minimalist art only helps in that regard, with subtle shades of colour helping you differentiate between which world we’re joining the protagonist in.
This isn’t my favourite Matt Kindt story I’ve read all year, but it is one that I think fans of science fiction will enjoy.
Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.