Review: Wretches Vol. 1


Wretches is a high octane science-fiction adventure published by Scout Comics. The first six issues of the series are now available in trade paperback. The plot of Wretches is like a cross between Blade Runner and Taken, but with a badass female protagonist. The storylines also reminded me of the novel that inspired Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick’s seminal “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Some of the same themes are examined in the comic as in that novel, but with a backdrop of nearly non-stop action.

Created and written by James E. Roche, Wretches features complex storytelling. There are a lot of characters in play, but the main storyline focuses on sibling bounty hunters Sean and Shea. Even though Shea is a fictional character, I couldn’t help envying her abs and admiring her tenacity. I was very impressed with the interconnected storylines in this first arc. Roche’s narrative is full of shifting alliances and the resulting triumphs and betrayals. Roche also achieves an impressive amount of world-building in a limited number of pages. The scale of the setting is grand while the character interactions are satisfyingly intimate.

Salo Farias‘ artwork caught my attention within the first dozen pages. The comic opens with a chase scene that is superimposed over flashback images of Shea and Sean’s past. These overlapping images also blend well with the narration text boxes. There’s another well-plotted sequence in the third chapter where two scenes are depicted simultaneously. The panels on the left side of the page show one scene while the panels on the right show the other. These are just two examples of the synchronicity between Roches’ script and Farias’ artwork. However, there was one minor disconnect in their collaboration. There were times that I had difficulty telling a few of the robot characters apart.

I also really liked the architecture of the buildings. The structures look futuristic while still being obviously functional. The buildings aren’t bright and shiny either. Through Farias’ detail work the reader can see that the buildings have become worn by the planet’s elements and in places have fallen into disrepair. The robot’s encampment, an arrangement of decommissioned and interconnected spaceships was visually and architecturally interesting as well. Having finished the first volume of Wretches, I hope the series continues on from here. Roche has created a world rich with potential for more tales of sci-fi adventure. Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll see of Sean and Shea.

Story: James E. Roche Art: Salo Farias
Colorist: Chunlin Zhao Letterer/Editor: Chas! Pangburn
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Scout Comics