Looks like Top Cow is back at the “good idea done half-ass” Pilot Season. First out of the gate this season is Matt Hawkins’s The Test. It’s written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal does the art. Sigh, let’s get this over with. A man, David wakes up in a bed in a sweet looking house. As he takes in his surroundings, he’s greeted by a woman on a television that begins to explain (in several different languages) that an orientation will take place outside. David follows her instructions and walks out to the streets. Once outside he encounters a small group of six other people stand in the middle of the street of a pristine neighborhood. The group gives each other “the once over”, as the same woman appears over head on a holographic type of monitor. She begins to explain that the eight of them are fresh out of a forced hibernation sleep and are now in a eco-dome shelter. The reason for all of this is that they been placed here as a backup plan for the human race, due to the world being, toxic, unlivable, war-torn, ect.
So as David and the rest of the survivors digest all of this information; David begins to wander around and remember who he was, where he came from. David attempts to get a feel for his past by looking into his house. He assumes he’s a scientist by the small lab in his garage. Then one of the survivors have an epiphany and states that there are only six of them here so the other two might be somewhere in the neighborhood. Within moments a women from the group comes running from a house due to the rotten smell. David investigates, only to discover a body that is decomposed. Someone rattles off a half ass hypothesis about the body and the state that it is in and that’s how we know her background.(So if I tell you how to grill a burger, I worked at In-and-Out). The group starts to disperse and as David walks away to get cleaned up, he has a quick flashback of his new dome friends in a military setting. He shakes it off and goes on his way.
One of the many problems with Top Cow’s Pilot season is that some of the premises have a small sparkle of interest and nothing more. But if the book you happen to like “wins” you’ll be lucky to even get a mini out of it, let alone a second issue. Regardless, The Test has a small “meh” factor going for it and that’s about it. It has some odd little nuances that come off annoying and rushed. For one, the survivors wake up from a comma but have full movement? It would take a while for the muscles to recover. The woman on the on the video greets everyone in different languages but then continues to speak in English to all of them. If “they” were selected, wouldn’t the organization that selected them know everything about the people? Like what languages they speak. If the survivors use is to repopulate the human race, why set up and elaborate eco-dome and not just harvest their DNA? Why did my interest nose dive into the ground when David’ flashback had some of the survivors in it? That just seemed to force the story down one shit played-out path of storytelling. Oh and don’t even look at the cover after you read the issue because it sinks the story even further into run of the mill bull-shit.
That’s just some of the wacky ups and downs you get when you dip into Top Cow’s pilot season. They always need to go big with the first issue to hook you and make you want more. That is completely understandable but let’s try and loose rushed and half-ass feeling that these books are notorious for.