The cinematic influences behind Justin Jordan, Kyle Strahm, and Felipe Sobreira’s new series “Spread” are numerous. In the author’s “patented end of issue ramblings,” the Mad Max film series are unapologetically paid homage to. And rightly so. While reading Issue #1, I also picked up on (obvious) references to John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi classic The Thing, especially given the icy setting, but also Ron Howard’s 1988 fantasy epic Willow. Both made me very happy.
WRITTEN BY: Justin Jordan
ART BY: Kyle Strahm
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: July 9, 2014
Reviewed by Nick Brehmer
The Spread is a terrible, ravenous, infectious mass with stylistic renderings similar to that of the demonic force from Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke. It eats its way through people and animals that don’t run fast enough, and even those with an immunity, like our mysterious protagonist No, may still suffer being ripped to shreds.
The story is propelled by the narration of the (presumably) now older Hope, a baby (at the time of Issue #1) with an incredible gift. She is rescued by No in the inaugural issue from a band of post-Spread-apocalyptic raiders. The hero quickly realizes her importance, but he isn’t the only one with a vested interest in the infant.
The writing flows like pieces of nightmarish memory slowly being put back together. Little is revealed in Issue #1 about the nature of the Spread or how much damage has actually been done to civilization. And, like Issue #1, I’m not inclined to reveal much in this review. I suspect that you’ll be as intrigued as I am during your own read-through.
I found the aforementioned back matter “ramblings” to be very insightful to the creators’ process. Jordan writes “I’ve never been as interested in, say, the first days of a zombie apocalypse as I have in what the world would look like ten or twenty years after.” I share this sentiment. The world of “Spread” has been plagued for some time and the danger is significant. However, given the events of Issue #1, there may be hope (*ahem*) left for humanity.
The colouring of this series is going to be a major draw to some. The coldness of the human world, dominated by blues, greys, and most prominently, white, is cut by the heat of the bright red Spread. It makes for an (at one point literally) eye-popping experience.