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Are you ready to melt your face off? VS #1 written by Ivan Brandon, with art by Esad Ribic is a testosterone overload of science fiction glory.

VS #1 is what happens when your fandom of Heavy Metal and The Hunger Games is merged perfectly into something new while realizing what made both great.

Ribic’s art with painted color by Nic Klein is as close as you’re going to get to Frank Frazetta. The texture and colors elevated VS from a comic book to a piece of art. Ribic takes new angles with his action sequence that put the reader off-balance, and you feel like you have to dodge laser beams. In one of the best panels of the book, a soldier gets shredded by some laser beams, and the way the panel is diagonally laid out, your head will follow the path of the fallen soldier. When your body moves reading a comic book, you know the artist has done something right.

Brandon knows how to write the first issue of a new series. The story hits the ground running, solidly introduces the main character, and then punches you in the gut with a cliffhanger moment. As I mentioned above, the art made me move, but the script for the main character Satta Flynn, had me yelling in my head. The meatball mentality of an athlete combined with the battle scars of war puts Brandon’s Flynn in the insane badass category of epic characters. Gail Simone says you should never write a boring comic; she would be proud to read VS #1.

If there were a place to critique the book, it would be on the lettering by Aditya Bidikar, not that he did a bad job at all. The flow of the script worked well, and you are not looking for dialogue. With the action sequences and the sound of movement, Bidikar needs to invent a new way of displaying the sound that interlocks better with Ribic’s art and Klein’s colors. No big deal Bidikar, I’m just asking you to invent something I’ve never seen before!

The combination of Ribic’s art and Brandon’s writing filled me with adrenaline, and I had to write this review. The action movie genre is in a bit of a slump with universe building and reboots. VS quenched my thirst for action as it’s an original idea soaked in 80s sci-fi nostalgia. The first issue is a fun read worthy of the cover price.

About VS #1:
War has become a spectator sport. Privately funded armies of superstar soldiers march into battle for fame, profit, and the glory of their sponsor nations. When a new generation of soldiers arrive, top gladiator Satta Flynn is about to discover how fleeting the limelight can be. From writer IVAN BRANDON (BLACK CLOUD, DRIFTER) and superstar artist ESAD RIBIĆ (Secret Wars, Uncanny X-Force) in his creator-owned Image debut, with painted color by NIC KLEIN (DRIFTER, VIKING) and graphic design by TOM MULLER, VS delivers spectacular action, darkly humorous satire, and explores our hunger for fame and our penchant for self-destruction.