Review: Luther by Mark Waid & Jeremy Rock

Luther

Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Jeremy Rock
Coloring by:
Robt Snyder
Lettering by:
Troy Peteri

Cover Price: FREE

Note : This digital only comic is available at Mark Waid.com

At last weekend’s WonderCon, Mark Waid debuted a free digital comic which can be downloaded from his website called “Luther.” While Luther is a relatively short comic, Waid used it as a platform to show what digital comics can be when used to their full potential. The end result was a really amazing piece of work.

A lot of time you hear about work that was specifically created for one type of medium. Recently, I have heard Brian K. Vaughan describe Saga that way. These works might work well in a different medium, but in order to get exactly what the creators were going for, it’s best seen in the original. To me, Luther is exactly that for digital comics.

On the surface, Luther is a very well written zombie story. We meet a mentally retarded man named Luther who seems to work on a zombie removal team. Luther seems obsessed with taking “loot” from the bodies. In the end of the story, we find out that Luther’s idea of loot isn’t what most people would think of. It’s a quick read, but a very touching story.

But, the story itself almost isn’t as important as how it’s told. Panels are repeated through the book, and as you flip through the pages, the story acts almost like a flip book, expanding certain details, or adding in word bubbles to make sure you focus on certain things in the order Waid wants you to see them.

By only seeing a specific piece of the comic at a time, and being guided through the story at the pace the author wants, it really changes how the story can be told.  It really made me think of comics & sequential story telling in a very different way.

I don’t know Jeremy Rock’s work all that well, but he seemed really well suited to this type of work. Luther required a lot of real intense detail in all these tight focused panels, and Rock really pulled it off perfectly. My favorite sequence in the issue had to be when Luther is examining a body, and it’s eyes snap open when the shot expands to show Luther.

While this format worked really well for this kind of intimate character piece, I am especially excited to see how it could work with something on a bigger scale. Imagine something like JLA/Avengers if Perez’s art could be layered like this? Or a full blown superhero brawl done with this kind of layout where you can only see one constantly shifting panel at a time, with the dialouge popping in after you see the action.

When you have an artist not restricted by the simple dimensions of the page and a writer able to come up with creative story structures, there is a limitless potential here, and I love that Waid and Rock have the imagination to start tapping in to that.

By the way, this seems to be only the beginning of Waid’s efforts to expand digital comics. He will be the first writer to release a “Infinite” comic for Marvel, with the Nova digital comic that will come for 99 cents or free with the purchase of Avengers Vs X-Men #1.

This comic is intentionally being created with digital readers in mind, and I can’t wait to see how that looks.  DC has already been tapping into that market with Batman Beyond and Batman”: Arkham Unhinged.

Also, Waid has said that on April 2 he will be making further announcements about expanding the digital comics media. I love that Waid is embracing this new media, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us. Waid has been involved with comics for as long as I can remember and has produced many, many, many comics that I love.

A lot of creators seem uncertain about the digital market (Mark Millar has been particularly outspoken), so for someone as talented and well regarded as Waid to step up and try to do things in a new way, I find that pretty exciting. I also like that this can open up new doors for comic creators who might not be able to land a job at Marvel or DC.  I can’t wait to see what the comic industry looks like even five years from now.

Besides, Luther is free, and it’s a quick read. You really have no excuses on why you couldn’t check this out!

Final Score: 8.5 – I think it is always important for creators to be able to explore doing things in new ways, and Luther does exactly that. I am really excited to see where this can take the digital comic industry.

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