With the final straight of 2020 now upon us (well, it is for me, I’ve started Christmas shopping), the way the year has been there are probably few people who don’t wish they could go back to 2019 and a pre-COVID, pre-lockdown world. Unfortunately, while we can’t offer you a time machine, instead we can offer you the next best thing as, this week, we check out the Mycelium Complex a comic about a group of people wanting to go back in time to prevent the apocalypse.
Publisher: Nautilus Illustrations
Writer: Daniel Reed
Artist: Daniel Reed
Price: Available to pledge at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/524822822/the-mycelium-complex-issue-one
Taking place over two time periods, The Mycelium Complex follows a group of survivors in a future post-apocalyptic wasteland as they struggle to survive the harsh environment they find themselves in as well as the murderous ‘Mowermen’ who stalk them. However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel when one of their own provides this ragtag band with an opportunity to undo the hell which they find themselves in. Meanwhile, in the present, Pat’s attempts to live a normal life with his girlfriend Shelley are threatened by his explosive temper which he struggles to keep under wraps. However, all his attempts to maintain a cool head may be for naught when he meets Benny, leading to a rivalry which might have terrible consequences for the entire world.
Daniel Reed offers up a very interesting story with the Mycelium Complex, as we are dropped right in the middle of a world in chaos before showing us the lives of those who came before. However, while the story offers up an intrigue as I first entered the title, the Mycelium Complex starts to become something of a frustrating read primarily due to a lack of expositional information. Questions are rife throughout issues 1 and 2; what is the connection between present and future? Who are the survivors and how are they still alive? What is Patrick’s connection to the Future world? Is Benny the Messiah (or is he just a very naughty boy)? What happened to Evelyn? All are things which feel like they have relevance and/or importance to the ongoing plot.
Unfortunately, very few have yet to be answered, leading to the feeling that I’m not being rewarded with any carrots until I reach the very end. Of course, the plot isn’t the only draw to any story but the characters themselves and Reed writes a particularly fleshed out Patrick who oddly does not feel as unlikable as he should be despite his heinous actions in these issues. The rest of the characters, however, feel very bare bones, with names and a very basic character trait (such as Benny’s flirtatious manner) offered up with little growth seemingly apparent.
The art, on the other hand, has a look to it that imbues the strength of the title. Reed’s style, particularly the future scenes, has this very FUBAR (of Alterna Comics fame) vibe to it as the dull, earthy colours and Reed’s fantastically dilapidated pencils really give the impression of a true world ending event. This is further enhanced by the constant appearance of bugs and insects in almost all panels, reminding me of Resonant as it does just as good a job of impressing upon us that creepy factor due to their continued presence. The present day style is also solid work, but the colour palette looks a lot brighter in order to confirm to us that: a) this is a different time; and b) the future really isn’t all that bright. However, if there is one failing it is the close up visuals of Patrick’s face, as his look just seems … off compared to the rest of the cast, although this may be to give a visual representation to his emotional strife.
The Mycelium Complex is an intriguing title with fantastic visuals and some real potential to be a great story. However, an unwillingness to show it’s hand makes for a frustrating read. It’s a series that really needs to start offering up some answers in order to give readers a greater incentive to stick around. As such, this would probably be a great title to read, but maybe as a whole than in bitesize parts.