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REVIEW: The Formula

Black Comics

REVIEW: The Formula


The Formula is a new comic series from The Johnson Family, Fredrick, Aaron, and Elijah. The series opens with a flashback of a major fire in South Central LA in 1999. Fire Chief Ashley “Ashtray” Jones rushes into the scene and immediately begins saving people from the flames. The blaze is suspected arson, which I’m sure will serve as a plot point later. In the course of rescuing people, Ashtray is caught in the building when it collapses, mortally wounding him.

Fourteen years later we catch up with Ashtray’s two sons, now teenagers. From here, I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the boys are attempting to be heroes and there is a strange new drug in town that looks like an asthma inhaler but gives people superpowers. The boys and this new drug cross paths by the end of volume 1.

The Formula is a good read. In fact, it’s a solid first comic from the Johnson Family. There is a lot happening in the issue though, which at times muddles the story a bit. There are a lot of threads being woven together and I’m not sure they all needed to be in volume 1. I would love to know more about Ashtray’s sons. Why are they trying to fight crime? How have they been the past decade? There seems to a depth of the story that could have been more fully developed in volume 1 if there had been a bit more focus. That being said, the story is still good and 100% worth it to grab volume 2 when it becomes available.

The art is good, again, especially for the first volume. There are some perspective issues, which can throw off the narrative at times. All-in-all the art for the issue is reliably solid. The opening panels of the fire scene are some of the best in the book and make the volume open with a strong visual that immediately draws you in.

Volume 1 is a good read, but I hope this story evolves into something bigger and better! Volume 1 is out now and can be grabbed from The website also holds a few other treats, like a series soundtrack that can be listened to as you read and videos that take you deeper into the series. The Formula is a unique story with a lot of potentials for its 5-volume run! 

About The Formula Series:

THE FORMULA is a 5-volume graphic novel series, an urban superhero story created and illustrated by The Johnsons, Alonzo Espinoza, Ross Hughes, and Tobin Racicot.

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Brett has been collecting comics for close to 30 years and is passionate about showcasing the amazing stories in Indie Comics and growing the indie community. A marketing and communications professional with a Masters of Nonprofit Management, he founded The Indie Comix Dispatch in 2020. Brett is also a member of the National Writers Union.

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