There’s a lot going on in The Many. It’s a high concept idea that for the most part is very enjoyable. There are a handful of scenes sprinkled throughout the story that grab your attention and for the most part you won’t be able to put it down. There are problems though. While the pacing isn’t bad, the structure of the story is weak. You may not put it down until the end because it’s not until the end that you’ll have a grasp on everything that’s going on within the story. The first problem with the structure comes immediately as the story starts with a caption that reads “Seven Days Later.” I never fault a story for using this plot device of showing us where the story is going, but if you use it you better make sure it’s tight. The Many tends to jump around on its own timeline a lot, but it never comes across as necessary; rather gimmicky and frankly confuses the story.
Seven days later we find a man chained to a post in Turkey. His friend is being brought in blindfolded and beaten. He’s left loose, but really there’s nowhere for him to go and he can’t free his friend. Through their dialogue we learn their names and that Dave got them into the situation they’re currently in. They have two other friends somewhere else on the compounds, but we’ll meet them in a minute. A military operation goes down suddenly as they storm the “Turks” and begin killing anything that moves. The two men yell for help and are taken by the military and as much as they protest their friends are left behind. After they’re cleared we check in with the last two men of the group. One of them, referred to only as the Big Man, is laid out and dying while the Tommy is in a dried out well chained up next to a crazy speaking old dude. The military moves out because they’re going to bomb the area and the Big Man and Tommy are pretty much screwed.
Down in the well Tommy tells the crazy old dude to shut the hell up because he’s tired of him repeating the same gibberish over and over: cocuk karanlikta, bunlar onlara isik getirmek istiyorum. I can imagine being pissed off at hearing that over and over. Tommy finds a hit of acid that was left over from the party that led them to Turkey and pops it in his mouth. Suddenly the old guy is making perfect sense… well Tommy can understand his words now, but he’s still bat-shit crazy. The old man tells him that he has to eat him and eventually Tommy does… at least his heart. Suddenly he has flies swarming all over and incredible powers. He saves the Big Man only to see a bunch of “mini-nukes” being dropped by the military heading right for them. He sends the flies to destroy the missiles and they tear them apart like butter.
The story grows as we head to America and see that the government is actually ran from the Pentagon… because… come on you got this… pentagram! It’s clever, but it takes a long time to map all this out. We meet a dude called Number 5 and he controls the military when needed and treats everyone like shit. Eventually we meet Number 1, much later in the story, and he’s really old… like really old and has a web of children behind him that serves some function other than creepy.
Eventually Tommy begins running for office after holding rallies in the park and using his new powers to grab the ear of people listening. Honestly his message isn’t terrible since he’s speaking about the way the government controls the masses by keeping the rich, rich and the poor in the gutters. The story really is ripe with social commentary. He continues to grow in popularity until even taking a few public offices, all the while eating the hearts of the wealthy and the corrupt to maintain his power.
There is another part of the story that involves a missing kid that becomes part of the web for Number 1; he’s the son of one of the four friends and he’s kidnapped as the mom comes back home from the States. She’s hexed and taken to the hospital where her condition worsens every day. This was actually probably the coolest scene as we’re shown a goat headed man sitting in the room, but no one acknowledges him until Tommy arrives. He tells everyone to take a break and he’ll stay watch and of course engages with the goat guy instantly. It’s a pretty cool scene.
Overall I enjoyed the story, but it has its roughness for sure and it’s all little things. That’s why it killed me because if even a few of them had been changed the story might have been better. The structure is obviously a bigger one, but there were things like the Big Man. I wish I could tell you his name, but even in a life or death situation everyone called him “Big Man.” It’s not the nickname that got to me it’s that when faced with gunfire and the possibility of death everyone took the time to say “big man” instead of Bill or Ed or whatever his name actually is. It happens so often that it becomes distracting when they say his name.
The other part that needed work was the dialogue. It’s okay for the most part, but when anyone enters a scene there’s this awkward check in with everyone around the room. Now culturally that’s acceptable, but from a story stand point when important things are happening it’s not a wise choice to break the flow and have everyone greet each other. Again, if it didn’t happen so often it might not have mattered, but it happens often enough to have stuck out to me.
The art never bothered me. It’s a good fit for the story and it captures the supernatural/creepy vibe that the world has. It’s very detailed, but has some style to it as well. The line work was very thick which made it reminiscent of other art I’ve seen, but couldn’t put my finger on. I really like the supernatural scenes as they had a bit more to offer. The goat man was insanely awesome for sure. My one and only gripe is that when the mom is in the hospital she’s wearing her street clothes in bed. No proper hospital would allow that and she more than likely wouldn’t have been given a private room based on her condition. Again, if it hadn’t been shown so many times then it wouldn’t have stuck out and bothered me so much, but it was shown too many times to ignore.
You can buy The Many on Comixology right now for only ninety-nine cents. The crazy thing? It’s like 125 pages long. That’s a hell of a deal so with that said it’s worth a purchase. As I’ve said, it has its flaws, but overall it’s a very entertaining story and I’m curious to see where it goes.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Charlie Gillespie Self-Published Price: $0.99 Release Date: 4/23/14 Comixology Link