By Ben Boruff
According to Delilah Blast's Kickstarter page, writer Marcel Dupree first imagined Delilah's world in 2010 after listening to "Do Somethin'" by Britney Spears and "Science" by System of a Down, and the spirits of both songs certainly found their way into the finished product. Spears's 2004 electropop hit "Do Somethin'" features hard-hitting techno beats and indignant vocals. "Science" is an angry, fast-paced rock song that makes a big claim: "Science has failed our world." Delilah Blast is a visual rendering of these two songs—after they have been smashed together and repurposed for a young steampunk-obsessed audience.
Delilah Blast's artwork is striking, and it matches the colorful intensity of the comic's melodious inspiration. Bold blues, reds, and yellows spring from grey and tan backgrounds. Early in the issue, Delilah, the comic's Tris-like protagonist, rides through a pleasant world filled with tall, glass-walled buildings and chipped cement floors, and readers experience a few appropriately hectic steampunk-inspired panels. The steampunk elements of the story wax and wane throughout the issue—some panels are less Jules Verne and more Philip K. Dick—but each page contains enough multicolored movement to captivate readers. Reading Delilah Blast is like experiencing a polished post-apocalyptic version of Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void (without the sex and drugs).
The comic is derivative at times—elements of Divergent and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man are present in this issue—but the story's flow bothered me more than its tendency to borrow from other works. The first issue of Delilah Blast bounces from scene to scene without much regard for characterization or nuance. In several panels, Delilah's actions are further explained in thought bubbles, and this spoon-feeding of information feels, at best, unnecessary. At worst, this lack of finesse cheapens an otherwise intriguing narrative. Readers are not given the option of exploring the story; instead, they are beat down by the plot.
Though the first issue of this comic is jumbled at times, I recommend Delilah Blast. Both the protagonist and the primary narrative have potential, and the comic's imaginative, Afremov-esque coloring overshadows most pacing and characterization issues. Young fans of steampunk and post-apocalyptic adventure stories will find much to like in this comic, including a pink "genetically altered alien creature" named Tikki, a towering steampunk version of the Iron Giant named Prometheus, and Delilah, the comic's promising protagonist.
Delilah Blast #1
Writer: Marcel Dupree
Artist: Joel Cotejar
Colorist: Ramon Burge
Publisher: Evoluzione Publishing