There is something stirring in the hills of West Virginia, and it isn’t the Mothman. No, it is an independent comic company called ElectroMagnetic Press (EMP) and they have begun something quite powerful in their first two releases, The Omens, and The Believer. It is the intent of EMP to have five full issues of each so as to have a complete story arc before they approach distributors. They have sent out copies of these two opening issues for review and to see what other think as they begin their process of breaking into the comics industry. I have had a chance to read both The Omens and The Believer as a courtesy from their company and to give an account of what I found in these two titles. I read through them both and believe that I have reached a conclusion as to what I think of EMP’s efforts….
I think they are pretty damn good. Actually, I think they are really damn good. Both stories deal with classic themes but have a bit of a southern flair to them in regard to science and religion that I found to be not only satisfying, but quite entertaining in both story and art that put these two in a great position to make some noise with future issues.
The Omens deal with the act of cloning and its repercussions. Maggie seems like a regular 17 year old girl with regular 17 year old girl issues, but she has some deeper trouble too. For one, she has severe migraine headaches. She also has telekinetic powers, mind reading abilities and energy bursts of power. Oh yeah she has a problem with seeing people that aren’t there too. It all has become just too intense for Maggie as her world seems to be closing in. She goes to a hospital, but things only get worse as the powers continue plus she has people/things out to get her that are very real, guys in suits, orc types, etc. Perhaps Maggie isn’t crazy and may just be the key to some big things.
This opening issue starts strong and stays strong the whole way through. Writer Larry Morgan paces the story aggressively working on establishing the basics and hitting the high notes hard and fast. The very nice touch is that we really see the story through Maggie’s eyes. She doesn’t know what is going on and neither do we. It adds a nice level of suspense as we watch Maggie stumble through with these powers that are quite eye popping when things get going. Of course, we find out that what Ms. Maggie is seeing is real and we are about to get taken on an extreme adventure and discovering exactly what is real and what is not. It promises to be a fun ride.
Shane Moore who provides the pencils and inking on this issue maximizes each panel to its full potential. It is fluid and flowing and runs with Morgan’s pacing perfectly making for a fully-fledged entertaining story all the way around. The Omens are just a sign of the shape of things to come for good or for bad. Let’s hope that they are ready to meet that destiny. After reading this first issue, I know that I am.
For The Believer, writer and artist Larry Morgan takes us to a world with super heroes and villains. Well, mostly just superheroes. All the villains had been put away to a prison called “The Blackwater” and they were thought to be secure. But there has been a major breakout where 13 of them escaped to include one Mitch Match, known and The Burning Man due to his ability with fire. And another one known as Midnight Man and considered to not only to be the mastermind of all the escaped prisoners, but also the most dangerous.
The many heroes have been unable to capture the escapees, but a new hero is emerging and he wears a cross. The believer is a religious themed hero who has single handedly been recapturing the 13. He has caught four by the start of this issue and is well on his way to bagging The Burning Man as this opening covers that pursuit. With the superheroes, they are at a loss as to what to do with this mysterious new hero. Their governing body called the Parliament, are trying to decide just that as one member of their group believes that he knows the identity of the stranger. There is also a missing priest, one Father Able who was at Blackwater on the day of the escape. He is presumed dead.
Morgan adds an entirely different idea to the world of the hero, a religious themed one. It is a good idea and as he uses the religion angle, there may just be a whole lot more to The Believer as shown. Morgan uses excellent storytelling techniques by utilizing news reports to cover lots of the back story. It is well done and never slows the story down as the hunt for The Burning Man is on. When the two do meet, fireworks ensue and Morgan is well up to the challenge. He hits the action hard and fast and covers a whole lot of story in just the standard 24 page issue. The pages keep turning.
But Morgan doesn’t stop there though. Working double duty doing the art as well, Morgan portrays The Believer as a holy man on fire (no pun intended). He is bold, confident, and a little cocky too. He makes for a perfect superhero and you recognize him in that way. Likewise, the other heroes are drawn as good, but with a level of weakness that is not demonstrated with The Believer. With the baddies, they are also drawn with confidence and they match The Believer in intensity leading the reader to believe that these bad guys might just be a little too tough for the old guard, at least as a collective.
There is a bomb dropped in the first issue that I must admit I never saw coming, but it is perfectly suited for this type of story and after reading this first issue, you definitely will be hungry for more.
All in all, I must say EMP has packed a strong punch in their first two titles. I really give them high marks for wanting to do the five issues covering a whole arc on both tales before looking for a distributor. In The Omens and The Believer, stories are written that are unique and different from what is out in the market at this time. I enjoyed both titles and look forward to seeing where both stories go in the future. With Larry Morgan, he is a strong creative writing talent that you may hear more of in the coming years. He brings both excellent writing and drawing to the table and can work collaboratively with other artists as he has done with Shane Moore in The Omens which was also a good decision as I think Moore’s art hit more of the young Maggie story that is more fitting of the art. I must say well done on both accounts with both titles. I look forward to seeing more from these creators.
The Omens Score: 4/5
Writer: Larry Morgan Artist: Shane Moore Publisher: Electromagnetic Press Price: $4.00
The Believer Score: 5/5
Writer/Artist: Larry Morgan Price: $4.00