Comic Booked has been a long supporter of independent and small publisher titles, as we find that there are far too many hidden gems in there. It’s rare that we get the opportunity to showcase some of those titles, and rarer still that we can showcase the work of one of our very own! I’m glad to say that this review is just that. Technomancer #1 is written by Comic Booked’s very own Raphael Moran. For those who have been reading his columns here for a while, you know that he has a few books out now. I can say that I have read none of them before now, but I had the opportunity to read and early version of Technomancer and thus this review was born. That said, I won’t pull any punches on the book, but I’ll be fair. So it’s a good thing I enjoyed it.
I’ve been hesitant of late to divulge any plot details within my reviews, but for a new book I’ll stretch the guidelines a little. I won’t break or reveal any major plot points, at least not anything that can be gleamed from within the first 5 pages of the story, or even the 1-page summary at the start. Especially because the book is not out yet!
The story balances between fantasy (not your elven-style fantasy but your more traditional historical style – think Game of Thrones) and science-fiction. Humanity suffered after a technological collapse and many started over from scratch, forming a non-tech-based society where the use of it is outlawed. But that was part of society entering that realm – others embraced technology and merely modified their use of it to enhance society. Technomancer brings those 2 worlds together… 2 worlds which are, at their ideological core, separate and contradict one another. You can only see that a clash is inevitable.
The main character, Merrick, is a magician in every sense of the word – the top hat, the canes, and the deceptive tricks that magicians do when performing. The story revolves around Merrick and his associates, living in a world that is very much against technology. Magic is very much part of the society, and technology and science are the unthinkable. But then again, wasn’t it Arthur C. Clarke who said “Magic’s just science that we don’t understand yet”?
I mentioned earlier that the writer, Raphael Moran, is one of our writers here at Comic Booked. I have not personally had the chance to meet him yet, simply talk over email and the like. This is my first exposure to his comic book writing and, if his other books are like this one, I may have to hunt them down (I am fully expecting him to email me with the appropriate links to them after he reads this). Unlike many independent writers who either get bogged down in conversation between characters or use too much narrative, Moran finds what is a good mix for this story. There are scenes that he writes where the “magic” happens and you really have to pay attention. Not everything is explained through words, but Moran seems to find a way to have certain items appear visually, and that instruction to his collaborator seems to go over quite well. The only thing where I can maybe critique it a little is that the narrative components, which helped to flesh the story along, was not consistent in the issue. There were scenes where Merrick was not present and the narrative simply ended. It did not detract from the story, but even having those narrations continue with little pieces of information about the world that would flow with the visuals would have been a way to continue to bridge the scenes.
Moran’s partner-in-crime, as it were, is a longtime collaborator with him. Marc Borstel has worked with Moran on 2 other books - Dream Reavers and Flee. I’m not as familiar with Borstel’s work, but I enjoyed the art. The scenes had detail where necessary but also had enough non-overkill lines in the artwork. The characters had distinctly different faces, unlike some artists where everyone looks identical and the only reason you know who is who is because of either the costume or through the word bubbles and dialogue. Apart from a few small scenes here and there which I wondered about, I would not hesitate to say that Borstel’s art could nab him a job at one of the publisher’s out there… Which he in fact has, as he is now also pulling additional duties as the artist on Avatar Press’s Lady Death series. I think one of the reasons I like the art so much, though, is that it follows with the painted format that has been made (in)famous by Alex Ross and also used by Top Cow artist Stjepan Šejić. It’s a style that has not been done as much in comics, but I think that the whole experience with the paintings give many books a whole new dimension. I have rarely picked up a title for the artwork – I am all about the writing – but for this painted style I’d pick it up to just look and never read a single word bubble if it came to that. And Borstel has definitely done a great job here.
So now the big question: Is the book worth reading? Absolutely. A hundred times yes. It’s a strong story and it’s full of great artwork. But how can you get a copy? Well, it’s not out yet… but you can order it! It’s available to order through your local LCS with Diamond code APR130751 if you are so inclined. If you’d like to find out more about the book, you can also go check out and like their Facebook page. As well, pop by and give their publisher in this venture, Markosia, a look as well. It looks like they have a number of books in their lineup that I have never heard of, but might need to toss my no-digital-comics-for-me mentality to the side and try something new and exciting!