The XII: The Father #1-6 (Alterna Comics)

This week, we check out Alterna Comics’ new Post-Apocalyptic Horror story The XII: The Father by Patrick Trahey, Luis Suarez and Magnus which follows a family as they attempt to survive the hell of the apocalypse while avoiding a mythical band of boogeymen. Can this title reach the promised land of sales success or will it, too, end up getting marked?

Publisher: Alterna Comics
Writer: Patrick Trahey
Artist: Luis Suarez (Art), Martin A. Perez a.k.a. MaGnUs (Letterer)
Price: £0.69/$1.49 per issue from ComiXology

The XII: The Father follows the story of Caleb, the titular father who, along with his family and friend, eaks out a precarious living on a desolate farm out in the wastelands of a post-apocalyptic America. However, when tragedy befalls their settlement, Caleb and his closest allies must embark on a journey along the abandoned roads of this world in order to seek a new life at the fabled ‘Promised Land’. But this journey is not without its dangers as the myth of the XII, a group of terrifying, dangerous beings, traversing these roads are common knowledge and all too easily dismissed. Can Caleb make it to his destination and find sanctuary from his family or will the legend of the XII reveal itself and make him a target?

Patrick Trahey has crafted a really enjoyable story with the XII, one which is truly engrossing from the very beginning. In a similar vein to The Walking Dead, Trahey has produced a much more brutal, sobering and realistic take on the post-apocalyptic concept, something which helps it draw in the reader much more effectively than the more seasoned titles in the genre. The XII feels much more focused on not just the characters, but specifically their actions in this brutal world and the consequences of the decisions they make to survive. This is best exemplified by the family’s initial hesitation bringing forth the consequences leading to the rest of the issue. Of course, the XII is not perfect as beyond Caleb, who has an extremely powerful and painful arc throughout the series, many of the core family characters feel faded into the background, with some of the characters not being very clear what their names are until deep into the story. That said, given the arc is called ‘the Father’, this does make sense and the high level of detail Trahey puts into this world, leaves a large number of tidbits and characters to focus on better in possible future arcs and doesn’t detract too much from the quality of the story.

Meanwhile, Luis Suarez’s artwork is top notch here and is the perfect style to bring this world to life. Suarez’s pencils are crisp and clean and look absolutely wonderful with the monochrome, red (black in the original version) and white colouring. What really makes the visuals special though is the enhancement of certain scenes in their colours to reflect fire. This is best shown in a full cast shot as they look upon their old life gone and the additional hue engulfing them helping sell the tragedy that has befallen them. Finally, what makes this art continue to standout is the guttering of this book which is totally black and really helps the lighter panels pop and the darker ones seem more ominous.

The XII is a truly fantastic comic series and one Alterna should consider a real coup to have gained under their roof. With an incredible story and some breathtaking art, Trahey and Suarez have produced a story and a world which is looks and feels heartbreakingly brutal in its execution and a match with any other comic in the genre. This should be checked out with one of the highest of recommendations.