Written by Ales Kot
Art by Morgan Jeske
Reviewed by Steve Seigh
Change #1 is not for the faint of heart. Upon my first read of the book I didn’t know whether I was a reading a comic book or a bed time story concocted by Art Bell. Seriously. Riddle me this. What do you get when you take a failing rapper/producer, a screenwriter who wears facial distortion makeup, a dying astronaut on his way back from Europa, a couple of conspiracy enthusiasts, cultists, a black mass that’s lurking inside of the ocean, and stick them all into one comic book? Any guesses? Give up? You get Ales Kot’s Change. A comic about calculated chaos. About the way that things must be. But most importantly … a story about you and me.
I’ll admit this to you right here and now. It took me three reads before I felt that I had a firm grasp on what was transpiring inside the pages of Change #1. Marching into this I knew full well that I was in for something different, something strange and possibly difficult to comprehend in a finite period of time. After all, Ales Kot was responsible for Wild Children, an absolute one and done stunner of a comic book, earlier this year. Kot writes with a heavy hand and a vocabulary unlike most comic writers that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Much like Kasra Ghanbari and Menton 3 of IDW’s Monocyte, Kot brings comic reading to another level with his wild ideas and complex narrative jumps. It’s not going to be for everyone but I’ll be damned if it’s not for me.
The art of Morgan Jeske also adds to the level of outlandishness that this book has managed to display. Jeske’s gritty lines and harsh color palate remind me very much of a comic presentation you might find in the back of an independent newspaper. With a multitude of bruised blues, deep reds, and sickly greens, the atmosphere of LA inside of Change #1 feels polluted and corrupted by the story itself. It’s almost as if the impending danger it faces has decided to express itself through the characters and and scenarios that populate the comic. It’s quite unnerving. Again, I like it.
So as I’ve said, Change #1 is not going to be for everyone. In fact, I’m pretty sure that a lot of people are going to hate it because it’s not something that’s easily consumed. You might have to read it two or three times before the reality of what’s happening within the books pages truly settles into your spine. So if you’re the type of comic reader who has a predilection toward the strange you might find yourself feeling very much at home with this book. Otherwise … don’t say I didn’t warn you.
VERDICT: Buy it if you like complex books that require a bit of investigation and mental digging. This is the kind of book you noodle over. If that’s your bag then dig in. If not, then you might want to move on. Unless of course you’re looking to broaden your reading horizons which I always recommend. The choice is yours.
* This review was written while listening to the album Visions by the artist Grimes.