Raygun #4 from Alterna Comics is the story of a little boy who finds Nicola Tesla’s Death Ray and how he’s able to cope with everything that happens around him. The government discovers he has the Death Ray and forces his mother to sign over custody of the boy to them.
I dug this issue. Full disclosure, I have not read the previous three issues in this series but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story. The writer made sure that this particular issue was its own unique beast which contributed to the overall story which made it easy for me as a first time reader to get a grasp of what was going on. Because such thought was put into making this issue stand out on it’s own, it made me much more excited as a reader to go back and check out the previous three issues of this story.
That’s the success of any serialized story for me. Does the story impel me to want to know more by the time I reach the last panel? Gregory Schoen did a great job of making this issue feel like it’s own little story. It had a three part act which other comics fail to have individual issues do. We see the kid dejected, resolving himself to a life of servitude to the government. We see him realize he’s being played for a fool. We see him finally take control of his life and move on. It’s a perfect story all on it’s own while still being a part of something much bigger.
I did have a couple issues with what I read. One, there were numerous scene changes that took me a second to adjust to. We’re in a government facility one moment, then we’re in an office building somewhere else. I think a simply heading indicating we’ve switched locations would have made the scene changes a little less startling.
Secondly, a subplot is brought up when the boy’s father talks to an old friend about trying to get his son back. The subplot itself was not the issue. The problem I had was with how short the scene was. I have no doubt it will be followed up on in future issues, and has probably been addressed in previous issues, but I would have liked to have seen more of this subplot addressed in this issue. Too much attention was paid to showing the Death Ray in action that could have been devoted to giving this subplot more real estate in this issue. It’s a minor quibble others may not care about but it was something worth mentioning.
The art work from Alonso Molina was pretty good. (I think of that Monty Python bit where the chef hears someone doesn’t care for his food and comes at the customer with a meat cleaver.) Done in black and white, it really helps bring the dire emotions of the kid especially in the story in a way that adding color to it may not have been able to. I really liked the panels near the beginning of the story where you see the kid just staring off into space. You feel how alone and lost he feels. In a way, the black and white drawing allows you as the reader to fill in more emotion to the piece that adding color to it could potentially take away.
Raygun #4 is available for sale now on Comixology and wherever comics are sold. If your retailer doesn’t have Raygun in stock, first ask them what’s wrong with them and then tell them to order it from Alterna Comics!