Written & Drawn by Brian Gorman, Letters & Photography by Chris Harvey.
Borderliners is a one shot from new(ish) publisher Unico Comics that’s hopefully going to lead to a series sometime soon, because it’s a very promising start to what could become a great espionage thriller.
This is described as a “pilot” issue and, as such, it does nothing more than throw us in the deep end, introducing characters and events that have very little meaning at this stage. I’m happy to say that it’s a clever and intriguing bit of comics; think Prisoner, Spooks, Avengers and maybe even a hint of Jason Bourne. It’s got sufficient promise of nasty dealings, betrayal, high level intrigue and a very hard boiled feel. There’s even a flashback to a scene from Ancient Rome that makes no sense whatsoever in the course of this introduction but does work quite brilliantly as a hook for the series.
In fact the whole issue works as a series of unresolved questions and mysteries. There’s no resolution, just set-up. But it’s done with style so there’s no frustration, just a desire to see more.
(Mystery upon mystery: Who are these people? What is the Borderline programme? All will no doubt be revealed, just not in this pilot issue of the Borderliners, terrific art by Brian Gorman.)
The comic is illustrated in a detailed photo-realistic style with Chris Harvey providing photo reference for Brian Gorman’s art. The style’s very similar to Gary Spencer Millidge’s Strangehaven and suffers occasionally, as Gary mentions in his note in the back, from a sense of it being too posed. The big problem with this style of artwork is the risk that you can spend page after page trying to work out who is who and getting awfully confused into the bargain. Matters aren’t helped when the entire comic is merely serving as a scene setter for a new series. But once the mind settles into the style and the visual cues are established it’s an impressive look that suits the confusion and mystery of the story very well. The other worry is that, as with Strangehaven, the painstaking detail will slow production down and rob us what looks like being a really excellent new series.
On the letters page there is mention that Borderliners will return. I’m really hoping it will. Borderliners is available from the Unico website and there’s a preview of this issue available on Myebook.