Stronghold #1

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
Michael Grey is an ordinary man. He shows up every day for his dull job at an insurance company, working with the formulas to determine the company's risks. He dresses in an ordinary way, takes an ordinary bus, lives in an ordinary apartment in the ordinary American city of St. Louis. Then one morning, something extraordinary happens to him. On his way to work on his ordinary bus, Michael Grey witnesses a car that is balanced precariously on a bridge. A young child is stuck inside the car, and as the car crashes into the water, everybody witnessing the incident freezes in fear. Everyone, that is, but Michael Grey. Michael dives into the water to save the child. He kicks in the window and saves the child. As Michael is fished out of the water by a grateful fire fighter, he lets go of the firefighter's grip and falls back into the river. Michael should die from hypothermia or brain damage or just simple drowning, but none of those things happen. Michael survives. Michael finds he has mixed feelings about the rescue: "You emerge a half mile away and begin backtracking to your apartment. ...Bewildered, not so much by your feelings of empathy for the girl and elation at her rescue, or even the unfathomable abilities you have displayed, but also by the fact that you have any emotions at all. It seems at once distant and familiar, like hearing the language of a native country left in your youth. As you reach home, those feelings are replaced by a vague nausea. You know somehow that you have put a new future in motion. A future that will strange the past in its bed."

That is the eerie beginning of this intriguing new series from Phil Hester and Tyler Walpole. It turns out that Michael Grey is far more than he seems at first glance. Among a certain group of people, in fact, he's the most important man on Earth. And, as the plot progresses, it seems that perhaps he is.

This is a really interesting set-up for what looks to be an interesting series. I really enjoyed how, Matrix-like, reality seems to peel back on itself to reveal deeper truths. Grey is no Neo, but his slow discovery of his true nature is interesting to see. Tyler Walpole does a nice job on the art, too. There are subtle tips of what's going on in the background through Walpole's art, but he never reveals too much. And he draws one very mean demon-looking creature guy.

This is a great intro issue, and I'm looking forward to reading more.

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