Test Issue 1 Review
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Jen Hickman
Colourist: Harry Saxon
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Vault Comics
“Orphan. Human Guinea Pig. Bodyhacker. Future Addict. Corporate Asset.” We don’t head into the arid deserts of Iowa or Nebraska with much information, just that we are not where, or when, we think we are. Even so, within the very first few panels of Test we immediately understand, know, and root for our protagonist, Aleph. Genius, that.
Imagine Nebula from Guardians with a boss haircut, and that gorgeously androgynous individual is our Aleph. A kit-bashed, put together “human” in search of Laurelwood – a town that has disappeared off the face of the Earth…somehow. One way or another, you best believe they are gonna find out why and where it has gone.
Test subject A
Funny, unexpectedly touching, and evocative – Test doesn’t just tell a story, it makes you ask questions, and it makes you think. Test brings a welcome and damning indictment of human nature wrapped up in balmy colours and sharp lettering – this comic didn’t come to play. With its quietly, softly jaunty art style and world building, Test ensures that even in its most relatable moments, we always know in the back of our mind that Alpeh’s world is not the one we are used to.
For me, it’s the lettering that truly takes Test to the next level in creating a believable unbelievable world. From Mary to the cross-talk, from the quiet sounds to the ripping screeches; you can’t help but to fall into Aleph’s noisy dystopia hook, line, and sinker. Pair this with a masterclass in character creation and you have a perfectly drawn world that we are never really sure if we want to be a part of.
Don’t Test me…
Test was a really interesting one. One page is staccato and jumpy, the next is heart-wrenchingly tender…but once you reach the end of Issue 1, you realise it is exactly what it needs to be. You aren’t supposed to feel comfortable, secure, or coddled when reading Test. I’m a sucker for thinker of a comic book, especially one that makes you ask questions, and Test delivers in spades. This comic will take you apart and smash you back together again. Trust me, it’ll feel way better than you’d think.