A squad of American operatives are called out to Algeria to liberate a drilling facility from a terrorist cell. The facility belongs to a billionaire former superhero. Upon retaking the facility, the squad learns that this is no normal oil operation. The entire team, except for the squad leader, is killed. Upon returning to the States, he vows to kill the “aberrant” billionaire responsible for this massacre.
That’s a solid premise and could set itself up for a solid deconstruction of the superhero genre if handled well. This first issue handles the setup decently, though it is mired with problems.
The comic is pretty joyless, though that’s understandable given the subject matter. It tries a little too hard to be serious at times. Also, you would be able to call that this squad was going to die even if you didn’t know the premise of Aberrant. That’s just how this type of story usually works.
There is a make or break moment at the midpoint of the book that will decide if you can follow the comic. The front and back half of the comics are played dead serious, but the height has hulking super-terrorists with turbans and goatees. One screams “Die, infidel!” while another shoots a laser out of his mouth. It felt like something out of a Trey Parker and Matt Stone property. That said, I was able to get back into the comic. If you can’t, I completely understand.
If you can get past that, it is a solidly enjoyable story. It even handles its War on Terror narrative fairly well, exhibiting some self-awareness about the nature of the conflict.
Zsombor Huszka is the artist on this project, and the comic looks good. There are some panels where the faces can look off, but most of the comic has a solidly gritty style to it. Iwan Joko Triyono is the color artist, and the palette is similarly gritty, centering around browns and grays. I’m not generally a fan of that color choice, but it does fit the narrative and tone.
Aberrant #1 is a flawed but functional opening issue to what, again, could be a solid superhero deconstruction story. There is a lot to improve upon in coming issues, but this is a decent foundation from which to build. I can tentatively recommend this one. Feel free to give it a try.
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