Science-Fiction isn’t only about stories with aliens, invasions or otherworldly action. Rather it’s a genre that encompasses a broad spectrum of narratives. Set in a town in anywhere USA, in the present day, two teenage guys are watching a pair of wonder twins. Brother and sister team tear it up on the soccer field, meanwhile friends Cohen and Jack are having a real conversation. Jack has Cerebral Palsy, he uses crutches and has a leg brace. And then there’s Cohen he’s in a wheelchair. Their banter while watching their peers play soccer says so much about this comic-book. ‘Anomaly 23’ is not an ordinary comic. It treats people like people. We see Jack through a series of panels do everything he can for Cohen. Cohen seems a bit resentful that Jack can have a ‘normal’ life. Even the twins have issues. Hayley appears to be mothering her brother Tye. He in turn is aggressively possessive of his sister. And there’s something about his headphones. Whenever Tye is separated from it, he panics. All these characters are struggling, whether they are differently-abled or not. Then things go all kinds of wrong.
There’s this thing in sci-fi where taking a short cut isn’t the smartest idea. But that’s what Jack and Hayley do. And before Tye can be a super-jerk, these teens interrupt an oncoming battle that will change their lives. It’s the appearance of a woman in a three piece suit, sans jacket, carrying a briefcase with a face that looks as if she’s celebrating the Day of the Dead that will have you ask yourself what is happening. With a green glow around her, Nightshift telepathically engages the startled teens and the banter is hysterical. Then her partner Foxgirl speeds in. What happens next will have you anticipating another issue.
‘Anomaly 23’ is something special. Besides the realistic way in which the characters are portrayed, it’s exciting and well written. All the jobs that Jack takes on for Cohen’s treatment and Hayley’s selflessness help drive this narrative. What are Nightshift and Foxgirl escaping from? And how did they get their ‘gifts’ are questions you will want answers to. Writers Chris Hendricks, Dirk McDougal, Andre DiMuzio have written a story, where you have likeable, empathetic characters. You want to see these people succeed or at the very least be safe. Likewise the artwork team of Leigh Jeffrey, Jay Moyano and Joey Sheehan have created a realistic, visual world. Yes, this includes, women with foxtails and mechanical wings. Down to Jack’s brace which is hardly seen, but always visible is seamlessly incorporated into this story. Though he may have things that hold him back, it doesn’t stop Jack from being a caring human being. One word of advice – read as slowly as you can. Savor the moment. This comic should have all your attention. It’s that worthy of your time.