Gasolina #1 – G.I. Gary’s Advance Comic Review!

August 10, 2017 Author: Gary Viola

Skybound and Image comics “Gasolina” #1 “Bienvenido”

Written by Sean Mackiewicz (Co Creator), art by Niko Walter, (Co Creator), and colors by Mat Lopes

Last week I managed to score an ashcan copy of the first issue of Gasolina, an advance release!  Gasolina will premiere on September 20th, so as Pint O’ Comic’s first, I’ll be able to do an advance review!  Because the ashcan is black and white, to review the coloring, I’m going off the 4 page preview from the back of “The Walking Dead” #170.

Sean Mackiewicz is best known as the current editor of Skybound’s biggest hit, “The Walking Dead.”  Sean felt that he needed to do more work after hours, so he and Niko Walter came up with “Gasolina.”  In Sean’s words: “It’s about two newlyweds who become unlikely leaders in the fight against a cartel waging a monstrous war in Mexico.  It’s a crime/horror/love story.”  The tag line for this book in its previews is “Fugitives. Rebels. Newlyweds.”

The book initially greets us with the protagonists on a farm,  burning crops to stave off a boll weevil infestation.  Their dialogue comes off natural, and when gun shots are heard, it is the start of the action ramping up.  In this first issue, relationships are established, conflicts are beginning to be defined, and another, un-natural element is introduced.  I say “un-natural” as something that’s definitely not normal happens.  I don’t know if this is supernatural, or aliens, or something that some psychotic did.  It is definitely interesting and raised my eyebrows.  Plot wise, I like where this is going.

Sean’s writing doesn’t come off as a first timer’s.   Working for Skybound seems to have worked in his favor.  His experience working with Robert Kirkman, and the audience that Skybound attracts, has given him a leg up on his peers.  His editing roles and working with other comic creators has attributed to a bit more polish to the story.  I hope he continues to use his experiences as this book has some potential.  Some of the plot devices could be seen as uninspired and typical of the Mexican cartel genre, but I feel like it’s being used to set the story’s atmosphere, rather than just the plot.  The un-natural element that crops up stole my focus, and left me wanting to know how that happened.  Obviously in a first issue, there’s little character development as we are just introduced to them and shown limited facets of characterization.  Essentially, our protagonists are stereotypical newlyweds with only one thing on their minds, but they show concern for their future, too, as they are “fugitives.”  I use quotations, because it’s based on the solicitation, and we haven’t had any concrete evidence of that based on the story.  You can tell something is up as the story progresses and shades of their old lives prior to living on her family’s farm comes to light.

Niko’s art is simple and straight forward.  His characters don’t have unnecessary line work and manages to convey emotion.  In a complex scene, it stands out, especially in the ashcan black and white format, as the reader can still follow what’s going on without the art turning into a black mess.  There are some night scenes where this does turn into an issue with the ashcan.  Mat Lopes uses a bleached color pallet reminiscent of the 1960s spaghetti westerns.  The colors come across sun washed and faded which feels authentic for a story on a Mexican farm, and thus adds to it.  I’m looking forward to getting the first issue in color.

Overally, this is a good first issue.  It has hooked me wanting to read the first issue again in color, and pick up the next few issues.  It’s a little light on the horror aspect, but again, being a first chapter I expect in the next few issues to be held in suspense and shocked to hopefully live up to that.  If Sean and Niko can live up to that, this has the potential to be a solid series.  If Sean continues to draw from his Skybound peers’ know-how, this could be even better.

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