There is something comforting about the comic-book series ‘Adventures of a System Admin’ by writer Juan Espinosa and artist El Santa. No one is destroying a city where the collateral damage would never rebuild even a fictional city or having a 30,000 retelling of an origin story. The sea of super-powered beings can be oversaturated. Instead, JJ and his IT coworkers are dealing with computer issues from a small company. But don’t think there isn’t any drama. Rather there is much to issue 5 that will hold your attention.
Subtitled ‘Back in Business’ JJ has returned to work, but not before he and his friend JT decide to begin a startup company of their own. The previous issue cause both men to leave because of some shady business potentially from a coworker Rik, who isn’t nearly as competent or talented as JJ, the main protagonist, or someone else who’s totally unexpected. On their return the crew is glad to have them back but immediately they have to deal with hackers, a visit from the FBI and the incompetence or is it espionage of those within the company. Is there an inside person? Why infiltrate this small company and is it some sort of vendetta?
What helps ground this storyline is the everyday lives of these characters. They eat and with a love of culture seamlessly reveals family connections and culture alongside history within food. Yoroa, or loaded fries which is commonly had with mince meat and cheese and mangu, fried plantain with onions and peppers, both Dominican dishes are casually mentioned. Then there’s the artwork. From JJ’s cool, flowing beard to Rik’s broadly shaped head coupled with the variety of skin tones, everyone looks as if you know them in real life. No one’s oversexualized which can be a distraction or a defect in the writing. Anyone can draw large breasts that seem to defy gravity. Lesser writers may rely on it. ‘Adventures of a System Admin’ is smarter than that. This comic-book makes the energy of the characters distinctive and enjoyable. After all the visual in a comic drives the narrative and can be more important than the dialogue.
Independent comics, particularly Espinosa’s and his group is a refreshing take on world-building. It’s not only diverse, but inclusive. Mostly it deals the problems that we deal with in the minutia of our lives. And that is what great about it. So much of this work is necessary, equally as important if it can help you with that shifty fellow employee then it’s completely worth the price of admission.