I can just imagine what it must have been like to pick up a copy of The Fantastic Four #1 off the stands or The Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns. To sit there and read them and just know that the game has changed. That from that moment on the art form of comics had just taken a giant leap forward and could never go back. That is the feeling I had reading Anomaly, the original graphic novel written by Skip Brittenham and Brian Haberlin with art by Brian Haberlin and Geirrod Van Dyke.
If Avatar and The Lord of the Rings had a love child it would be named Anomaly. The year is 2717. Having stripped the Earth of it’s resources a handful of power companies under the banner of The Conglomerate have banded together to exploit distant planets. The Conglomerate controls a powerful army lead by Enforcers and the best of them is Jon, at least he was the best until an accident on a planet leaves many of his men dead. Years later he is given the opportunity to redeem himself by accompanying a group determined to try to peacefully contact another planet. A betrayal by the Conglomerate leaves this group of humans stranded on a planet controlled by dangerous mutants and it is up to Jon to figure out how to gather the free “people” of the planet together to battle the mutants.
If the story seems a little bit basic and “been there read that” it is. The idea of the outsider coming in and leading the natives has been in used in so many books and movies by now (the latest being Avatar) that it is almost a cliché and that’s not a bad thing. If the formula works why change it? The story is there only to serve as the hooks to hang all of this beautiful artwork on and after 7 or 8 pages I stopped actually reading the story and just experienced it. It was like watching a big screen epic play out in front of me and I just had to hang on for the ride.
When you buy the book you get a free UAR (Ultimate Augmented Reality) app to download. Just point it at certain pages and the creatures pop off the pages and perform some basic animation. Since we are on an alien world the UAR segments didn’t feel out of place but instead kind of functioned as a moving encyclopedic guide to the strange creatures on the planet. Click on THIS LINK for a demo to get a taste of what I’m talking about. If you don’t have the ability to use the app don’t worry as this will not affect your enjoyment one bit.
While the book might set you back $75.00 every bit of this 12 x 16.5”, 6 pound, 370 page book is worth the price you pay. And even though it is the longest original graphic novel ever published when it ends it STILL feels like it ended too soon. This is easily the best graphic novel of the year hands down, period, end of sentence. If you love comics you owe it to yourself to make sure this is at the top of your Christmas list.