Deeply unsettling and disturbingly poignant, Tynion and Blanco set off with a smart and tense first chapter for their new original thriller series.

Review: W0RLDTR33 #1 – A Viral Spread

From acclaimed horror specialist James Tynion IV (Something Is Killing the Children, Blue Book) and artist Fernando Blanco (Detective Comics) comes an unsettling new series spawned from the dark underbelly of the internet with W0rldtr33 #1. Featuring colors by Jordie Bellaire and lettering from Aditya Bidikar, this opening chapter presents readers with a disturbing sci-fi premise very much based in our own reality – with end results that may hit a little close to home for some. With a sharp, intelligent script and brilliantly atmospheric visual work, W0lrdtr33 is off to a phenomenal and intense start.

“In 1999, Gabriel and his friends discovered the Undernet, a secret architecture to the Internet. They charted their exploration on a message board called W0RLDTR33. Then they lost control. Someone broke into W0RLDTR33—someone who welcomed the violent hold the Undernet had on them. At great personal cost, Gabriel and the others thought they sealed the Undernet away for good. They were wrong. And now they will know the meaning of PH34R.”

Writing & Plot

James Tynion IV once again channels fears both unique and familiar with his script for W0rldtr33 #1. Combining the factors leading to real life tragedies with a fictionalized idea of the internet, this first chapter is a contemporary marvel of sci-fi horror. At the core of Tynion’s issue is a view of the internet similar to what Ellison created in I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (which Tynion references multiple times). There’s this idea that the web harbors some kind of malicious, sentient program created by all of the vitriol humanity displays in its dark corners that finally comes out to play (see also the “Roko’s Basilisk” thought experiment). The other aspect of this horror story is the unflinchingly real part of watching a teenager worked into a murderous frenzy by something he sees in a forum. Seeing as how this is a very real phenomenon, this part of the comic is easily its most chilling – to the point I could see some putting it down for hitting a little too close to reality. Fortunately, Tynion is as subtle as he is incisive, making for a reading experience that guides us from the bitingly real to the more genre-focused elements of Woldtr33 with ease. Tynion shows off a little bit of Warren Ellis influence with not just the plot, but the characterization of some of his cast as well. The notion that there is a crew of reluctant techno-wizards led by a wealthy, pale-haired entrepreneur is about as WildStorm as it gets. This opening issue truly feels like something out of Global Frequency or Injection, but still completely original and written with Tynion’s specific voice. Disturbing, emotionally upsetting, and wildly intriguing, Tynion does it again with a phenomenal script for an original thriller and one of the best debut comics of the year so far.

Art Direction

Tynion always ends up working with astonishingly gifted visual talents, and the same goes for W0ldtr33 #1 thanks to Ferando Blanco’s pencils and Jordie Bellaire’s color art. Blanco uses stellar character animation, heavy shading, and some neat visual trickery to craft this techno-thriller’s intense atmosphere. A highlight of his work here is this sort of digital effect he uses in the murder sequences, where reality “digitizes” for a moment mid-panel just before a bloody death. It’s a neat effect that I’d love to see how he brought to life. His character designs are all distinct, especially that of the pale-haired Gabriel and the mysterious tattoo-covered woman known as PH34R (Tynion sure loves his dangerous blondes). Fernando nails the comic’s intensity with his sequential direction as well. He carefully chooses what details to focus on during conversations among characters, and his chaotic moments are loaded with suspense. Horror is most often about what the audience *can’t* see coming, and Fernando keeps that in mind with his POV sequences and moments of sheer chaos. Jordie Bellaire’s color art is the perfect atmospheric touch to bring the visuals to life. She utilizes what looks like a super-dense watercolor style, but without the blotchiness that typically comes with that approach. The color palette itself leans on the murky side of each shade, nailing the comic’s tense, foreboding aesthetic. The lettering from modern powerhouse Aditya Bidikar is some of my favorite work I’ve seen from him. His dialogue balloons all have a hand-drawn feel to the fonts. His best work here though is the SFX. Bidikar’s work there subtly works among the characters and pieces of the background in each panel, being noticeable while never overtaking the rest of the art. Overall, W0rldtr33 is a stunning looking thriller, and one of the best-looking comics of 2023.


W0rldtr33 #1 is a brilliant and unsettling comic from some of the best talents in the industry. James Tynion IV does it again, this time with a painfully relevant script that mixes techno-thriller genre moments with genuine horror pulled from our own reality. The visual work from Fernando Blanco and Jordie Bellaire is atmospheric and well-sequenced, with some smart artistic choices that help make this comic one of the best debut issues of 2023 thus far. Be sure to grab this opening chapter when it hits shelves on April 12th!

Justin Munday
Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.
Deeply unsettling and disturbingly poignant, Tynion and Blanco set off with a smart and tense first chapter for their new original thriller series.Review: W0RLDTR33 #1 - A Viral Spread