Review: Leap M
There are many different types of crime stories. Leap M, a new one-shot from Action Lab‘s Danger Zone imprint, is one of the most original I’ve come across in a long time. It has the mood of a noir story, the emotional charge of a revenge fantasy, and the futuristic edge of a science-fiction thriller. The premise of Leap M revolves around a brutal but efficient means of controlling prison populations. This method gives new meaning to the saying, “the only real prison is your mind.” Convicted prisoners are chemically aged to match however much time they’ve been sentenced to serve. Then a virtual reality chip is inserted into the prisoner’s skull. The chip simulates the full length of their sentence within their mind and then runs a rehabilitation program.
After being framed for a murder he did not commit, Wilbur submits to his punishment and is aged forty-five years while undergoing the rehabilitation program. Once he’s released from prison, Wilber sets out to get revenge on those who framed him. Once Wilbur has been introduced and the plot details established, the story moves forward at an enthralling pace. Writer Doug Wood makes the most out of every page as Wilber works to discover who framed him and then sets out to enact his revenge. There’s a lot of visual storytelling, which I always enjoy. Wood generally keeps the dialogue to a minimum. When there is text in a panel it is narration that adds to a scene instead of just explaining what the reader is already seeing on the page. The narration sets the tone and the dialogue and action follow it seamlessly.
Artist Matt Battaglia doesn’t use the most refined or detailed style, but his illustrations fit the tone of Leap M perfectly. His heavy lines and dark shadowing are well suited for a gritty revenge story. The colors used by Battaglia in this comic differ from those of classic noir works. Instead of black and white with the occasional pop of bright red or another accent color, Battaglia uses muted greens and blues. Accent colors are used to fill in the background of panels. There’s also a flashback that is presented in full color. In the flashback, Battaglia does a great job of capturing the ferocity and direness of a battlefield.
Leap M has everything I want out of a crime story. Action that gets your adrenaline pumping, high stakes that deliver palpable tension, and a conclusion that produces an emotional response. I must confess that I’m not usually the biggest fan of the comics Action Lab puts out. However, Leap M has truly converted me. From the writing to the page layouts to the art, this one-shot is a prime example of quality comic book storytelling.
Story: Doug Wood Art: Matt Battaglia Letters: Justin “Lettersquids”
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Action Lab provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review