There’s a lot to love about this series. It’s a hell of a ride so far, but what I like best about it and really what I like about Donny Cate’s writing is that he takes risks. He creates characters that you wouldn’t see in another story like a foul-mouthed girl hell-bent on killing all vampires or a child president that acts like he knows everything and can’t be bothered to care. It’s that coupled with his outrageous, but not really that outrageous story that makes it all work. The premise is simple, humans have abandoned earth because of vampires, but they’ve kept it secret. What makes it outrageous is that Donny Cates and artist Dylan Burnett crank the idea. They left earth, but they nuked the planet. Now the Vampires with their own civilization have begun space exploration and could be closing in on their food source. To counter this, the former earthlings have trained a soldier to kill them with a mech suit. Simple premise that has been amped up so that it’s a bit ridiculous, but all awesome.
That’s why I like Donny Cates as a writer, easy ideas to understand, but the execution is so much bigger than the sum of it's parts. Take Buzzkill for example, a hero that has to take drugs to have powers and each drug gives him a different power, but he’s not exempt from the drug’s effects. Drinking still gets him drunk and so on. And that’s not even what the story is about. It’s like when I tell you that a government semi-truck story is really about the apocalypse. You’ll kind of go, “huh?”, but that’s exactly what The Ghost Fleet is about when you boil it down. They’re simple to explain which is the charm, but then very detailed and deep stories.
Another risk that Interceptor takes is the dialogue. Because Donny Cates writes how most people I know talk. I consider this a new school of comic writing because instead of what I call the “Bendis style”, in which there are personal details added to a conversation to humanize the character, Cates and others just write like real people talk which in turn also humanizes the character. It's instantly relatable and especially to the growing prime demographic of comic readers in their thirties. Frankly this first issue of Interceptor has some of the best dialogue I’ve read in ages making it a real treat.
With all of this praise that I’m heaping upon Donny Cates I must give equal praise to Dylan Burnett who creates this fantastic world visually. When you have good writing in a comic there’s a huge catch… you need good or great art to go with it. If you don’t, then really no one will care. I’ve read countless stories that were good, but could have been great if the art was different or simply better. Burnett is fantastic and his art brings the story to life, but adds the personality that matches Cates writing.
There’s also this great neon future vibe to the series that reminds me of video games in their early conception. When greens, pinks and purples somehow signified, “future stuff.” It’s perfect for this series as it plays on that nostalgia, but then also just looks really fucking good. Burnett also creates some wonderful characters because frankly if your clothes aren't iconic in a comic book you may as well start over. And you’re lying to yourself if that’s not part of the reason you love comics and secretly want to cosplay.
The collaboration on Interceptor is perfectly in sync. I can’t remember the last time I read a first issue in which the writer and artist were working this tightly together and weren’t the same person. Here’s the thing, this book is for people who enjoy comics. Not superhero comics. Not big two only comic readers, but people who have grown up with the medium and figured out, “hey this shit is like tv, movies and video games all rolled into one.” With comics you get stories that are amazing and would never exist anywhere else. This is one of those stories.
Interceptor #1 Writer: Donny Cates Artist: Dylan Burnett Publisher: Heavy Metal Price: $3.99 Format: Print/Digital