Cyberpunk, action, thriller Template #1 sits alongside superhero behemoths like Wolverine, Batman and Ironman on ComiXology’s Guided View section but how does this indie-spirited title match up to the Guided View giants from Marvel and DC Comics.
Template #1 is a bleak cyberpunk action thriller from writer Quinton Miles and artist Andres Quezada, released through their QAM Comics imprint. For this, their first foray into the world of digital comics, they’ve followed the Thrillbent model of releasing webcomics online before collecting instalments into two part anthologies via ComiXology the first of which is now available as part of ComiXology’s push for original Guided View content.
The story revolves around Beta an android clone of super agent Ina Britt (the titular template) who a private security firm called Oversight are attempting to program into the perfect super solider. However they’re having teething problems as Beta will not obey protocol and could well be following her predecessor Alpha down an unwanted path to self awareness and disobedience.
With its bleak cyberpunk tone it feels very similar in tone to Greg Rucka’s Lazarus, but without the slightly convoluted plots, as well as echoes of everything from Wolverine and Captain America to Metal Gear Solid via Philip K Dick along the way. This really helps it stand out next to the spandex superhero brigade as Miles’ script is smartly written with a solid idea behind it and a strong sense of where the story is going. The webcomic chapter structure allows the story to ebb and flow quicker than it would with a standard comic and so gives you two cliffhanger type peaks in this first issue which keeps the story buzzing along. Miles is backed up by artist Andres Quezada who’s artwork has an angled, stylised look that is reminiscent of Leinel Yu with its scratchy line work and angular faces. It perfectly matches the dystopian look and feel and gives the books a strong visual sense of identity which should also help it stand out.
The addition of Guided View gives the book a real polish with elements appearing in sequence to help aid the dynamism of reading. One thing it does very well is the lettering by MaGnUs, with over sized speech balloons and stylish edgy font that retains a consistent size throughout the issue with text appearing sequentially rather than in one big block to help the pace of reading. (The constantly changing font size in some Guided View books is a real pet hate of ours, so kudos for avoiding it!)
Although there’s nothing ground breaking in Template #1 when it comes to layout and transitions, with no sequences reinventing the genre or making you go WOW (like we’ve seen in recent books like Motorcycle Samurai), at the same time there are also no unnecessary frills that take away from the readability which is a real positive and makes it a great example of using Guided View to improve a comic by augmenting the story rather than distract from it with fancy effects.
“For a team who are creating this without the resources of a ‘big two’ publisher or heavyweight digital comics expert Template is an incredibly accomplished book that rightly deserves it’s place on the ComiXology front page. Keep an eye on this one as it could be one of the most under-rated titles of the year.”