Hot damn, guys, we made it! Another year has gone by and somehow, I’m still employed at Forte, talking about comics week after week. Believe it or not, Pulp has been going on for near on seven years – way back in 2013, my mate Cameron and I thought it’d be funny to get paid to write about the topics we talked about when we were trying to waste time at work. Back then, I was brand new to the comic scene; I’d just jumped on board in time for the New 52, and I had a lot to catch up on. One of the benefits of this gig, after all this time, is that I get to wax lyrical about the time-honoured classics, the best of the ongoing series’ and the up and comers that are going to make waves. This week’s comic, Son of Man, is an ambitious indie sci-fi tale that – with a little refinement – could easily fit into the latter category.
In 2087, scientific maverick Roman Loken suffers a humiliating defeat in an attempt to win a life-changing grant. Ashamed, furious and relapsing into alcoholism, Loken retreats from the public eye, leaving his assistant Nate Nguyen to chart his own course in life. Years later, Loken contacts Nguyen out of the blue, summoning him halfway across the world to embark on a mission that will change the world: clone Jesus Christ. Nate attempts to temper Loken’s lofty ambitions, but it’s too late; both Nate and Loken have been drawn into a vast conspiracy that started with Loken’s fall from grace and will likely end with them both dead.
I should preface the following paragraph by saying that Son of Man is absolutely an indie comic. Written and drawn by a pair of mates from Melbourne – Eli Abidin and Benjamin Davies, respectively – Son of Man is seemingly their first venture into the comic world. I did some digging, and I couldn’t find anything of note that indicates prior experience. Son of Man certainly reads like a first attempt, as well. Abidin is certainly aiming high with his story of spycraft and scientific genius, but the whole thing seems overly convoluted and rather hard to follow. About halfway through a new character appears that is framed as a villain and is (rightly) immediately treated with suspicion but is then mourned like an old friend when seemingly killed off. There is clearly a bigger story planned, but the first volume doesn’t come close to laying out a cohesive narrative. Similarly, Benjamin Davies’ art tries but doesn’t quite make it to the lofty heights the storyline aspires to, and in some cases actually detracts from the story.
With all that being said, Son of Man is still a first attempt at a massive-scale story. The first TPB was published in 2016, but the series itself dates back to 2013, and I have high hopes that time will have allowed both Abidin and Davies to grow and further refine their respective crafts. I did a little digging around and their Facebook talks about taking on constructive criticism so I’m hopeful that Son of Man will grow into the sci-fi epic it’s meant to be.
With the criticism out of the way, we’re done for the year! I’ll be off for the Christmas break, but rest assured Pulp will be back and better than ever for 2020. Have a fantastic break, everyone!
Written by Alastair McGibbon