G.I. Gary Reviews: Sons of Yellowstone Issues 1 and 2

September 9, 2017 Author: Gary Viola

From Helios Comics (formerly of Headshrinkers Press)

Sons of Yellowstone #1 & #2

Writer: Jeff Nelson
Art: Peter Cacho
Letters: Nichi Scribbles
Colors: Matt James

While roaming the aisles of Terrificon with Mr. Ganache, we came across the Helios Comics table and John talked to them a little bit for the podcast. After the interview, creator Jeff Nelson offered some review copies of his book “Sons of Yellowstone.” I’m a sucker for a good post apocalypse story; I’ve always been interested in how society reacts after an earth changing event. Many times it involves a little twist in that the event changes humanity and its DNA. This is one of those stories.

Taking place about 20 years after the Yellowstone Caldera erupts (the worlds largest super volcano) the landscape has changed. During the eruption, there was yellow mercury released into the air, and it affected a portion of the population. These people, now called the “Sons of Yellowstone,” have gained abilities beyond the average human. They are also connected to one another in a  psychic link. It is most prevalent when they kill, triggering an empathic response, notably a ringing in their ears (think tinnitus).  This is supposed to act like a conscience, but too much ringing could drive one insane, and turn them feral.

Our main protagonist is Cedric, who drifts into Nuevo San Diego to have a drink in a bar. When a patron at the bar recognizes him as a Son of Yellowstone, Cedric kills him in self-defense. This starts a chain reaction of events that showcases what yellow mercury did to Cedric, and the consequences of having that yellow mercury. The killing sets off the response which also signals other Sons of Cedric’s location, specifically a settlement in Minnesota. This is all topped off by Cedric developing a vendetta for the Mayor of Neuevo San Diego. This sets the story up for the next issue finding out what consequences lie for Cedric, the bartender he left alive, and the journey the Minnesota contingent is about to embark on.

This is Jeff’s first comic book and it shows in a few places. Some parts don’t flow quite as well as others. You can see clearly what he’s trying to do with the plotting. The execution is just a bit imperfect,but his capabilities are obviously there. I found issue 2 to be better, and it shows that Jeff’s working on his storytelling skills in the gaps between issues. His characters echo that of Western story archetypes, particularly the common Clint Eastwood (High plains drifter, rogue gunfighter) role comes to mind. I like his unique spin on the post-apocalypse genre using the Yellowstone Caldera as the event, as it really is scary, and it really could happen. So while the yellow mercury is the sci-fi angle of the story, the book remains relatively grounded.

Peter Cacho’s art reminds me of “Trigun,” the anime.  Characters are mostly lanky, and the lines are long and have an edge to them. It fits this western style story well. When he breaks character type, especially one of the ferals, the style remains, but is adjusted for the character.  Matt James color pallet of earth tones works making the characters feel traveled and dirty, even against the dark sky.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.  It has a story that’s maintaining my interest. Following “Sons of Yellowstone” on Facebook is a must with this indie series as Jeff posts periodic updates with progress, and issue 3 is looking good, so far.  As Jeff’s first entry into the comic industry, this is very good, and hopefully the experience he gains continues to make him a stronger scribe. I hope he eventually overcomes the hurdles with the gaps between issues being released,as it warrants a continued read.

Until next time!

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