Reviewed by: Mathan “Another 1st Issue?” Erhardt
Story Title: Otherside
Written by: Bob Harras
Penciled by: Marcos Martin
Inked by: Alvaro Lopez
Colored by: Javier Rodriguez Studio
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
The issue begins in the future, December 7th, 2005 to be exact. In Siberia several Americans, including a Senator, are at the sight of a helicopter crash. Also there is also a costumed figure there. He is being hunted, and he uses his immense powers to create a haven for their safety. The Senator claims to know him and tries to touch him, but in his passionless way of speaking he warns her that contact with him would harm her incredibly. Then he creates a portal and vanished.
We then find ourselves back in the past, April 17th 1983 to be exact. On the eve of his son, Tate’s 5th birthday Major Tim Zanetti goes off to work. He works at Camp Liberty, where he oversees a top-secret government project involving accessing other dimensions. His partner and best friend Major McClellan is the co-head of the project, and as part of the protocol has to take copies of all of their research off site as a precautionary measure.
After we learn how the project works and what it’s supposed to do, they prepare to start the project. Unfortunately something goes wrong, and the device explodes, expelling energy and creating a vortex. As Zanetti disintegrates, his last thoughts are of his family. Meanwhile McClellan is in a bar, sharing the information that he’s supposed to be safeguarding.
Hours after the disaster rescuers find a survivor; he’s glowing white. As he reaches out to one of them and touches him, the rescuer dies a horrible death. We then find out the survivor is Zanetti.
After a brief interlude in 1987, we are bumped into the present, where Zanetti has been in a coma for over 20 years. He’s in a protective cocoon, which shields people from most of his harmful radiation. However today is the day that Zanetti wakes up, and it’s a rude awakening; he has to be restrained. McClellan then receives the call that his old friend has awakened. But he doesn’t take it as good news. To be continued.
Harras knows how to create atmosphere. The cliffhanger beginning is used to great effect, with every character introduced in those first four pages making an appearance later in the issue (and earlier chronologically speaking). He makes Tim’s home life quaint and his work sterile, almost too sterile. Tim’s relationship with McClellan seems very “buddy/buddy” which is good. Harras makes Tim Zanetti “real” character. Robins’ lettering is at top form. From the hero that Zanetti becomes, dispassionate voice to the subtly of the sound effects, everything is superb.
Martin and Lopez make a fine team. I enjoyed their work on Batgirl: Year One and they have returned to bless this book with their art. Zanetti looks cool. He’s basic, but still eye catching. When his powers are used it’s a stunning effect. They also make domestic bliss look mundane and portray a killer commute to work (on page 7 & 8.) The effects of the radiation on people is kind of disturbing, but not too much so. I can’t wait to get a good look at Zanetti’s appearance, hopefully next issue.