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Comic Review: The Alternate #1

Written by: Neil Davies, Special to CC2K


My personal hell has been realized and it’s illustrated by Daniel Gete and Dean Kotz.

Writer: Jeff Winstead
Illustrators: Daniel Gete & Dean Kotz    

Imagine you have arrived in an alternate universe where you are not only weaker and less-important, but the alternate version of yourself that you meet is incredible and beloved by everybody. Not only is this my private nightmare, but it’s also the premise of the new comic The Alternate by Jeff Winstead.

The Alternate centers on James Conrad, aka Mettle, the only superhuman on earth. He has no secret identity and is portrayed as the pinnacle of celebrity. He acts as the sole protector of his planet, one of their A-list actors/celebrities, and is also a renowned playboy (picture, Superman meets Booster Gold meets Bruce Wayne). However, through a turn of events he is transported to an alternate reality where his powers are diminished, super humans are exceptionally common, and his alternate self is infinitely greater than he ever could be.

The introduction to this character is swift and eloquent. Winstead manages to give us Mettle’s origins and powers, while also putting him in a situation where his humanity can shine through. We first see Mettle facing an alien horde above the Earth’s atmosphere, and pages later we see him grappling with the emotional ramifications of killing. Within the first few pages we get a substantial look into where this character comes from, what he is capable of and what kind man he really is.

The story itself is creative, witty and well-paced. Mettle’s early run-in with a villain in the alternate reality quickly conveys the stakes of this world and how Mettle has either been de-powered or isn’t on par with the difficulties of his new environment. While the first issue of this comic ends before relinquishing any major answers, it leaves the reader excitedly anticipating the next issue.

The premise of The Alternate, while compelling, seems more like a singular story arc or mini-series rather than an ongoing series. This comic takes a unique perspective on a familiar comic book trope and uses an approach that stimulates self-reflection. However, it also begs the question how long can the author continue to produce fresh stories and not get bogged down by the initial basis of the comic? How long until the shtick of being in an alternate reality runs thin?

Overall, The Alternate is well-written and expertly illustrated. Winstead draws the reader into a world full of mystery and questions, and leaves them to contemplate their own life and existence against the backdrop of an entirely different reality. The action is suspenseful and puts its protagonist in real danger. Ultimately, The Alternate leaves the reader wanting more, and that, in and of itself, is one of the core ingredients of a great comic.  

Those interested in reading The Alternate #1 can find it on Comixology.com or by clicking here.

4.0 out of 5.0

Author: Neil Davies, Special to CC2K

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