The Reconcilers Review

By | Saturday, October 23, 2010 Leave a Comment
When I first heard about The Reconcilers, I was pretty intrigued. It sounded like an interesting story and the preview art I'd seen was attractive. Plus, they had this idea of each issue coming out in a graphic novel format, bypassing the "traditional" pamphlet-first method.

I have to admit that I started growing a little concerned once I got the book, though. There seemed to be a lot of creators involved, with relatively little experience in comic storytelling. Neal Adams name was being touted pretty heavily, but he didn't seem to contribute much more than the cover. And then the character cards they provided seemed geared towards a collectible card game, which suggested to me that this was one of those "do it as a comic first to try to sell it as a movie" deals. But all of this was me being my usual skeptical self.

The story is set in the mid-22nd century. Governments are gone, replaced by corporations. Pretty much anyone who isn't the CEO of a major company are second-class wage-slaves. The "legal system" is now a form of televised entertainment wherein companies resolve their differences by throwing proxy warriors into armed combat with one another in fights to the death.

The lead protagonist, Sean Hexhammer, works for a small mining outfit and he stumbles onto a motherlode. Max Sokor, the CEO of Sokor Industries, then tries to railroad Hexhammer's employer into legally giving up their rights to the find. This leads to a reconciliation process in which Hexhammer and a small band of co-workers are pitted against Sokor's trained soldiers.

I have to say that I was really impressed with the book. The story is solid and, while it is set in a dystopian future, it's not so dismal that it's incomprehensible. In fact, I was struck by the number of parallels they managed with contemporary American culture. The actual storytelling, too, was surprisingly easy to follow, given the number of potential places (flashbacks, dreams, viewscreens, etc.) to cause reader confusion. There was even a couple of really nice subtleties thrown in that provided some nice character moments almost in the background. There were some nice turns in the story that I wasn't expecting, and kept me engaged throughout the book.

One of the other kind of cool features I liked were the "chapter" breaks. The book isn't really divided into individual chapters per se, but in between some of the natural story breaks, they've included some design sketches (mostly architecture) that have been annotated with interesting, but not crucial, background details about the society and culture within the book. Coupled with the other sketches in the back of the book, and the additional description material surrounding the book, they've clearly put a lot of thought into world-building and how the entire place operates. As well as the characters. While some are obviously more three-dimensional than others, there's a lot that went into who these people are and what their relationships are to one another.

Overall, I was really impressed. There's a lot of good stuff going on in this book, and I'm definitely interested to see where they might go next with it. While it evidently was based on a screenplay, and there's clearly some cross-media thought going on in the development, it was still very well executed as a comic.

The first volume is available now on Amazon, and I believe will be hitting comic shops in December.
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