Review: The Signal #1 & #2 (Abstruct Entertainment)

Aliens have always been a long time source of inspiration for comic creators, and with The Signal we take a look at a new entrant to this classic genre. Created by Kevin Schwoer and Abstruct Entertainment, it sees what happens when a message announces the imminent arrival of otherworldly guests. Will this comic be out of this world or will it need locking away in Area 51?

Publisher: Abstruct Entertainment
Writer: Kevin Schwoer, Mike Squitieri (Editor)
Artist: Issue 1 – Neil Anderson (Artist, Issue 1), Sean Callahan (Colorist, Issue 1), Jeremy Megert (Artist issue 2), Tanya Wicker (Colorist, Issue 2), Toben Racicot (Letters), Jeremy Megert (Cover)
Price: £1.99 for issue #1, £2.,49 for issue #2 from ComiXology

Five years after having her career ruined by superiors looking to suppress her theories, former NASA scientist Annie Archaya is offered a chance to regain her reputation when a former professor submits to her, information about the Signal; a repeating communique from outer space which could confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life. However, no sooner has she received this data than her life becomes in danger from a Government conspiracy looking to ensure that no one knows of the imminent arrival of the unearthly guests the signal is alluding to.

Writer Kevin Schwoer has crafted an interesting tale which gives off a real conspiracy thriller-esque vibe. Despite the first couple of pages coming across as a little confusing, once the story shifts in time then the story plays out really well, unveiling the mystery well and at a good pace. However, if the title struggles with anything it is its characters. This is most evident with its lead as Annie Archaya feels like a bit of a mixed bag, coming across as quite extreme in her opening scene before before switching to a more sympathetic character in the next scene and then back again. This flicking between extremes is a little off putting and makes it difficult to find the character relatable.

The art, meanwhile, has two very different styles across the two issues. Neil Anderson’s first issue style has a very rich, hyper-realistic look to them in a similar vein to Dan Butcher’s Vyper story from Awesome Comics. This art is also a mixed bag as, while the pencils are deep and well defined, Sean Callahan’s colours do enhance a few of the iffy panels due to its eye-popping, moody tone.

Issue 2’s style on the other hand, provided by Jeremy Megert, looks a lot rougher than its predecessor and, as such, does make the transition between the two instalments a little jarring, slightly affecting the enjoyment. That said, this style, combined with Tanya Wicker’s colours, does work well, especially in the reveal of the ‘visitor.’

The Signal is an interesting comic series which, despite its flaws, still manages to offer an incentive to read with its seriously compelling plot. If that characterisation and art can be given a bit more of a consistency then this could be a truly great comic. For now, however, Kevin Schower has made a comic in the Signal that is certainly worth a look.