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Children Of The Grave #1 Review
Children of the Grave is a brand new original sci-fi story on Scout Comics, written by Samuel J Romesburg & Ben Roberts, illustrated by Gioele Fillipo, and lettered by Marco Lesko.
About Children of the Grave #1
Children of the Grave #1 is set 30 years into the future, after an unknown event has rebooted humankind as we know it. In this new version of Earth, everyone leads blissful lives, unaware of the issues that plagued the world before them. Anything one might need to survive – running water, food, electricity – exists a plenty and free of charge, thanks to what people refer as “The Providers”. Everything seems to be too good to be truth – and, according to Daniel, it is.
Children of the Grave #1 – Making Pretentious Look Good
However, among all the cornucopia of gifts and good tidings present inside the world of Children of the Grave, a likeable protagonist is not one of them. With a premise like the one used to market this comic book, it is easy to believe there’s nary a possibility that the story contained within its pages won’t be anything but interesting. It’s a tried and true fromula that has worked wonders all over the world, as franchises like The Promised Neverland, which follows a similar idea, have proven in the last few years.
This type of story works. And, yet, Children of the Grave, doesn’t.
We live inside a reality that presents us with post-apocalyptic stories galore around all kinds of media. One could even bet real money that there is at least one human being working on their very own post-apocalyptic idea right at this very moment – it doesn’t matter when you read this, it is the reality of where fiction is leading us. Just during the last decade alone we’ve had The Giver, the Divergent series, the Maze Runner series, The Hunger Games series – all fine examples of how these sort of stories could (or couldn’t) work; reminding us of all the ways humanity will inevitably screw things so much that there won’t be a solution.
The thing that makes or breaks any of those stories, whether you personally like them or not, is not the setting, but the characters; who they are, what they represent. You have a fan of character traits to choose from – an idealistic teenager that believes in the inherent good of humanity, a cynical girl that will do anything to save her loved ones, someone battling their way to be understood, a person who posits tagging people only dehumanizes them.
Depending on your particular point of view, you might find yourself attached to one or the other, wanting to experience the story of someone relatively close to your core beliefs navigating a world that makes less sense than the one we live in.
But, what happens if you are a nihilistic asshat that grew up being force-fed the ideals of Rick Sánchez sans the context? What if your core beliefs boil down to “My intellect is far superior to that of the common folk”? That particular niche, for whatever reason, seems to not be taken in account when it comes to young adult stories.
Boy, does Scout Comics have you covered with Children of the Grave!
I feel nothing but contempt for the protagonist of Children of the Grave…
There is a portion of humanity that likes to posit how incredible it is to find the entire world around us bloated with sycophants and losers. It’s the same portion of humanity that, upon watching Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, they thought it was talking about them and not a man with extreme depression and mental issues.
Daniel, the main character of Children of the Grave #1 is one such person. He is a brooding twenty-something with a that believes himself better than the people around him. He is someone that discovered the truth of civilization – how we’re all cogs in a machine that drains us dry and leaves us dead by the curbside of life. Enjoying life for what it is is what sheeple do, and a sheeple he is not.
The way the comic book tells us exactly what kind of character Daniel is happens during three key frames in the story:
1- His most precious posessions is, in fact, a Black Sabbath cassette tape he listens to religiously.
2- He sincerely believes smoking is a character trait that makes you look cool.
3- When one of his friends tells him about something he’s excited about, Daniel can’t help but belittle him to his face.
He’s someone no one above the age of seventeen would find relatable, is what I’m saying. Worse still, the story is constructed in a way that makes him the voice of reason.
And, yet, this thing is so visually interesting…
But what makes this first issue almost unbearable, is how the narrative demerits everything else on the page. Instead of taking us through the journey of this empty husk of cringey stereotypes as he discovers how this post-apocalyptic world is evil, we start our journey with him being already jaded. As such, we have to go through page after page of blocks of text displaying his generic internal dialogue describing how he is better than the common man.
All the while, it is clear as day that every single person on the art team gave it their best to create a world that looks and feels enticing; that makes sense visually. Instead of going for the obvious greys, blues and washed-out colors hack artists would believe obvious in this situation, the art team of Children of the Grave went for sunsets, dissonating with preconceived notions of a post-apocalypse.
Everything on the pages is drenched in warm yellows and oranges, giving the world a vibrant feel that actually grounds it in an almost reality. Characters are expressive, there’s nary a repeated pose or expression, camera angles are dynamic, people are moving – the art team is doing their job.
And all for what? For Daniel to dump unironical exposition as if there was no tomorrow? For every panel to focus on someone talking to us from above his high horse of pretentiousness instead of walking us through his thoughts?
Children Of The Grave #1 contains really cool ideas, especially when it comes to the world it’s set in and the mystery of how we arrived to this, but it undoes everything with its central character. Even the cliffhanger at the end, a rather excellent twist that made me want to continue this series, gets ruined by the reminder that I’d have to continue following Daniel throughout a second issue.
Children of the Grave #1 Conclusion
I for one, would rather skip this series rather than endure Daniel’s “musings” once again.
But if this sounds appealing to you, this issue can be bought directly through Scout Comics’ website.
Engage with the Creators
Samuel J Romesburg – Twitter
Ben Roberts – Twitter
Gioele Fillipo – Instagram
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