Geiger #1 – Geoff Johns, Writer; Gary Frank, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Geoff Johns has been the king of DC for almost twenty years now, writing iconic runs on just about every major hero – and even doing a little Marvel at one point – but there’s been one corner of the comics-verse he hadn’t touched until now. Creator-owned. That changes with the launch of Geiger, a new Image #1 with his frequent collaborator Gary Frank (only months before they wrap up their Batman: Earth One series). Johns is a superhero writer through and through, so it’s no surprise that he returns to that genre for his first indie launch – but this is a very different superhero book and owes as much to literary classics like On the Beach and Alas, Babylon as it does to his DC work.
It’s the story of Tariq Geiger, the second Arab-American lead Johns has written after Simon Baz, and the story this issue is split between the dawn of the apocalypse and what’s left twenty years later. In the past, Geiger was an unassuming family man who had prepared doggedly for a potential nuclear war. When things went south, he carefully shepherded his family to the bomb shelter – only to be ambushed by a pair of racist neighbors who intended to take it for themselves. He chose to die confronting them instead of letting them take the shelter from his family, only to be caught outside as the bombs hit – and we don’t know why, but something changed that seems to have allowed him to survive.
Very little of this issue is from Tariq’s perspective, though. Most of the future-set segments, in a nuclear wasteland, are told from the perspective of survivors as they scavenge to survive and share stories of the mysterious “Meltdown Man” who can survive without a radiation suit. Some of them are ordinary survivors, others are ruthless scavengers, and then there’s the mad boy king lurking in the background in a very familiar location. What we see of Tariq in the future is an intense, possibly disturbed man with a two-headed wolf as his companion, and the visuals in this issue are brilliant. The weak spot is that there’s a little too much exposition. You can tell Johns is used to writing for a superhero comic audience used to continuity and dense storytelling.
This isn’t a perfect first issue. Johns is clearly not used to worldbuilding outside the confines of DC yet. But it is an incredibly promising start that serves both talents very well, and a long-awaited creator-owned debut from the biggest comic talent who has never visited that pool yet.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.