Gamma #1 Is A Narrative And Visual Hurricane

by Josh Davison

[**Minor Spoilers Ahead for Gamma #1]

Dusty Ketzchemal, Sandy, and Crash live in squalor and poverty on a world overrun with monsters. Many are small and can be caught in small devices called Trapboxes. Others are massive Kaiju and must be fought by the planet’s defense force. They are hunted by gangs and hope for a better tomorrow. Crash’s father runs a massive global religious organization. One by one, Dusty loses his friends and must navigate this world alone.

Gamma #1 cover by Ulises Farinas and Melody Often
Gamma #1 cover by Ulises Farinas and Melody Often

Gamma #1 seeks to riff on many anime franchises and genres, chief among them Pokémon and Super Sentai/Power Rangers. It’s a brutal takedown of both, focusing on the global and human toll of living in a world of frequent monster battles and pushing children into capturing and training these monsters.
Its criticisms of Pokémon are interesting because they extend beyond the simple “superpowered dogfighting” joke that is usually trotted out when discussing that series.
That said, Gamma #1 is very difficult to get into, and I didn’t find myself enjoying it. This is primarily because of its esoteric storytelling style and constant striving for existentialism.
Characters often speak in these vague half-sentences that don’t relate to what the previous character said. It’s difficult to tell what exactly happened most of the time, and dialogue often does little to clear it up. There are also numerous time-skips to complicate matters further.
It’s worth mentioning that I’ve never read any of the previous Gamma material, so it’s entirely possible this makes more sense to a seasoned Gamma reader. I can only give my own evaluation.
Gamma #1 art by Ulises Farinas and Melody Often
Gamma #1 art by Ulises Farinas and Melody Often

The paneling and layout make a visual disaster area worsened by the generally busy and messy art style of Ulises Farinas. The art style itself isn’t bad. It provides an energetic and anime-inspired visual aesthetic served well by the wild color palette of color artist Melody Often. However, it coincides badly with the shifting panel sizes, the schizophrenic layout, and the fact that there are generally 10 or more panels on a page. It’s unpleasant to look at and hard to parcel out for the reader.
Gamma #1 is an ambitious and interesting project brought down by a lack of narrative or visual focus. The dialogue is awkward and constantly reaching for symbolic meaning, the layout is a mess, and the artwork is hurt by its own abundance on each page. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t come recommended. I suggest giving it a pass.
Gamma #1 comes to us courtesy of writers Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas, artist Ulises Farinas, color artist Melody Often, and cover artists Farinas and Often from Dark Horse Comics.

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