REVIEW: Wall Breakers
Creative Team: Jorge Zevallos
A horrific sci-fi thriller that keeps the reader engaged, page after page. It will leave the reader salivating for more, just like the antagonist.
Wall Breakers opens on a hot summer day in the big apple. The descriptors from the writer and the well-drawn pages bring the reader in, surrounding you with the scenes and scents of the city, making you feel part of the story as you seem to fall smack in the middle. Clearly, the first couple of pages describe the atmosphere, and you know that something is on the way. We understand the era that the story takes place as it represents the evolution of technology and where it has taken humanity, eerily similar to what is going on now. You get the idea that we’re about to be brought into a tale that follows that of an AI sci-fi story but, that isn’t the case.
Quickly the story transitions into horror, not stringing the reader along. By page 4, we’re introduced to what would become the antagonist, an other-worldly creature that has one thing on its mind, destruction. The protagonist gets caught off guard, and like many other horror stories, they find themselves running for their survival as they try to get away from the hunter and, while running, they warn all of those in its path to no avail as it leaves carnage in its wake.
This story is fast, but it is engaging. By the end, it leaves you wanting more but, you don’t ask for it because you’re satisfied. You sit and savor what it is that you just read, hoping that you can try another delicacy from this creator. How so, you may ask? The pace of the storytelling, the art, and the detail that Zevallos took in creating this black and white sci-fi thriller. Yes, I said black and white; no color is needed. If anything, the color would have been the wrong choice for this story. So, leaving it out was a great choice, but what glued the entirety of this book together was the addition of the hand lettering.
Hand lettering is something I haven’t seen in recent comics, and it was rather refreshing and shocking to see it in a modern comic book. The letters were clear, and the story was easy to read and easy to follow. The detail in this book was off the charts as well. Down to the additions of “Gold Bond” powder bottles sitting in the background. The facial expressions were par on, and they let you know that the characters in this story were terrified. Facial expressions are something that a lot of individuals forget about when making comics. Zevallos didn’t.
WALL BREAKERS was fun and filling. It gave me the idea of a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits type of story as if it would go into a graphic novel filled with similar short stories. Something I think the world needs right now. I found myself loving this tale as I turned through each page. I had fun, I was scared for the protagonist, and I had no idea what would happen next. The cliff hanger left me feeling like it should have had the narrators from one of the shows mentioned above signing it off.
The art in this comic was highly detailed. Beautiful and simple. Darkened pencils, no inks or colors and, that’s all this story needed. Anything more, and I think that it would have felt out of place for a story like this. It was airy and helped set the tale’s ambiance, which kept that creep factor that the readers would need to get through things to keep you feeling eery as you read. Zevallos drew the foreshortening in this book beautifully. You can tell that they’ve been doing this a while and wanted to give this book everything they had. They spoke to the reader through the art, and that’s always refreshing.
The story was great! It had its twists and turns, and it kept me on my toes. I tried to decipher what would happen next, and in most cases, I was shocked. I like that. When I read stories, being a writer myself, it’s hard to be amazed by some as they hit certain tropes. This story knew what it wanted to be, and it stayed along that path. Around page four, I knew what I was reading, and the information remained true to what it wanted the readers to read. The pacing was great too. There was nothing over the top for no reason and for “WOW” moments. Save for the character jumping out of a pretty high window. However, it stayed true to what it was as a story outlandish and out of this world.
The dialogue was something that I fell in love with, with this book. What hooked me was the radio announcer in the beginning. It took me back to that old radio host slang of the ’80s and ’90s, and I felt what the host was saying. I felt like I was in the city, sitting on the stoop or driving my car, listening to the radio host tell me about what I should expect that day. The radio host was talking about the weather. That’s it. The dialogue and the writer’s approach, as they gave the host his style and quirks, made me feel as though I was there. Also, that was the first three pages.
Editing was done well, and believe me, I looked! Especially when I saw that the lettering was hand done. I expected errors. I knew that there would be some; however, I was shocked! I’ve seen more errors in digital made comics that this hand-drawn and hand-lettered beauty. There were some errors; there will always be errors in comics, but it was so small compared to everything else.
This story had great pacing. I didn’t find myself bored, and I didn’t see myself saying, “Wow, you’re just gonna put that here, huh?” It was great, and not only did I look forward to the page turn, but I also looked forward to the next panel. That is some pacing for you. I can go on and on about the art, but I HIGHLY recommend that you pick this book up instead. The dialogue was excellent, and more importantly, the word balloons did not cover significant parts of the art. The dialogue balloons also did a great job of leading the reader from panel to panel. I felt for the main character. I felt his fear as he ran for his life. I even thought about the woman that he meets later. It also leaves you with a great cliff hanger. With this being a one-shot, some would be angry, but I think it was well done. It forces you to imagine what was next.
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