You know all those online friends you have? The ones who play MMOROGs and have screen names like Scallywag and King of All I Survey and James_Lake (that one you always make fun of, for not having an imagination for his screen name)? What if you actually met those friends and you all had mystic powers — and, even more, that you were called upon to save your home country from an invasion of mythical creatures?
Wouldn't that be weird and awesome and kind of scary for the world at the same time? Wouldn't it be the most fun and terrifying thing that ever happened to you?
That's the premise of Peter Roger's wonderful new graphic novel The Interactives from AAM/Markosia. I had so much fun reading this comic. It really delivered everything that I hoped to read from a comic like this — humor, excitement, dragons and trolls, some great call-outs to geek culture, and some wonderfully fun artwork.
Maybe the most fun part of this book is that the heroes are all big geeks. They're not square-chinned, ultra-brave avatars of virtue. Instead they're overweight and have ugly glasses and unrequited dreams and are regardless pressed into action to help save the world.
I feel like I know these people. I've worked with people like this over the years. And I know that these are exactly the sorts of people who I'd love to have beside me as we defend the world. Heck, who better to defend the world than game players who are used to strategizing and taking action? Nothing scares or surprises us, as we really have all seen it all. In fact, there's an awesome scene where London is saved by… well, hell, I'll respect spoilers and just say you'll think the most appropriate people possible are the ones who end up saving Blighty.
So when this book reaches its climactic battle, as evil trolls and unicorns and goblins gallivant on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the right people are the ones who can save the world — and it's not spoiling the world to say that they save it in a thoroughly satisfying way.
I loved Luciano Vecchio's artwork on the book. He has a light and fun style that suits the book's tone well. But he also is great at bringing real locations to life. He's great at embedding readers right in the middle of the story, in the heart of London. The locations in the story made me wish I could travel back to the city and see it again.
This book also has a completely unrelated story by Rogers and artist Azim Akberali called "Seniors." "Seniors" is a gorgeously-drawn story about longtime super-heroic enemies who are forced to come to terms with each other when they both arrive at a Senior Citizen's home. This really is a sweet and moving story, and the art is reminiscent of Alex Ross's work — which is perfect for a story like this.
Add "Seniors" to The Interactives and you have a thoroughly satisfying comic book. I had a great time watching people a lot like my friends defeat some real evil.
Jason Sacks has been obsessed with comics for longer than he'd like to remember. He considers himself a student of comics history and loves delving into obscure corners of this crazy artform. Jason has been writing for this site for about seven years and has also been published in a number of fan publications, including the late, lamented Amazing Heroes and The Flash Companion. He lives in north Seattle with his wife and three kids.