Set in a world where everyone can astral project, O.B.E. – Out of Body Experience sees detective Cole is called to a series of mysterious deaths that may or may not be connected to the mysterious institute O.B.E., home of enigmatic professor Medlock who is the practice’s leading light.
Publisher: Antarctic Press
Writer: MC Bratton, Kelly Valderamma
Artist: Christopher Allen, Lee Duhig
Price: $3.99 from the Antarctic Press Store
San Antonio based written CM Bratton and Kerry Valderrama have created incredibly rich and well thought out world for O.B.E.. The information is slowly drip fed through to you, with the nuts and bolts of science handled by a holographic tour guide who explains the back story of O.B.E. in a smart scene half way through (reminiscent of Jurassic Park’s Mr DNA Sequence). As such they create the right balance between explaining the world and leaving plenty of mystery.
Although the plot is fairly familiar, (troubled cop investigates crimes linked to shadowy corporation) the world it is set in allows the story to build around it. In a strange way it reminded us of Demolition Man and the way society has become completely layered by a certain new element but one that also works by a new set of rules. By making O.B.E. into an almost drug like concept it means Bratton and Valderrama can give the characters flaws and troubles, such as Detective Cole’s late wife who gets addicted to it or social worker Amari who is connected to the victims, but we aren’t sure why. It it also has rules that can be followed or not followed allowing the status quo to be challenged.
The art from Christopher Allen, gives everything a really slick feel to it and has an almost Bryan Hitch from Ultimates like quality thanks to the level of detail and tight panels on every page. It means the creators are able to pack tons of information and intrigue into every page and when combined with some excellent colours from Lee Duhig creates a really slick book which feels like it could be from a major publisher.
However this density can be a bit overwhelming at times and getting your head around everything can be quite daunting. However, it’s not enough to completely put you off and after a couple of reads you soon realixe it is a smartly constructed and very polished book.
With this being the first of 4 parts, and seemingly plenty of secrets to be revealed on the way O.B.E. has the potential, to develop into something really interesting as long as it doesn’t get too lost on the astral plain.