Last month at C2E2 I had the pleasure of purchasing the brand new, original graphic novel Strange Attractors by Charles Soule. Whenever I purchase something new, especially a graphic novel, I devour it within a few days. This was however one of the first blind purchases I have made in a long time. The only work by Soule I had read was Swamp Thing #19. In my opinion he is the perfect person to continue the book after Scott Snyder’s epic run and reestablishing Swampy as a character who is not only relevant but can do well in his own book.
Yesterday I finally finished it. Instead of reading it at my normal pace, I decided to take it slow and treat it as finely aged ale. Archaia published Strange Attractors with illustration by Greg Scott, colors by Art Lyon and Matthew Petz, complexity maps (yes there are some) by Robert Saywitz, and letters by Thomas Mauer. This team is unbelievable. Their combined efforts alone could have carried the book, and with Soule’s writing it is a powerhouse to be reckoned with. This experience was by far nothing I had expected it to be and everything I did not know I wanted to see in a stand-alone.
The story opens up at Columbia University with one of the greatest, mind puzzling introductions I have ever read in this medium. We are then introduced to our protagonist. Heller Wilson is graduate student in the Math Department working on his doctoral thesis who is in the search of Dr. Spencer Brownfield, a former professor at Columbia. Dr. Brownfield invites Heller along with him while he goes and runs an errand, which looks a bit ridiculous, but is in fact something that helps a great deal of people. This sets the tone for the entire book and asks one of the great philosophical questions, can one person have enough impact to help bring about change, or impact an entire city?
Strange Attractors offers a deep and suspenseful look at personal relationships, the costs that come with making an impact, and what happens when people go against the grain to unite for a bigger and better purpose in post 9/11 societies. It is clear throughout the book that Soule has a deep love of New York City and everything associated with it, especially the music scene. This is also one of the smartest stories I have ever read. However Soule came up with this, one thing is for sure; the man knows what he is doing. Not only is it a compelling story that will be relevant in 50 years from now, but also it engages in a way that makes one put the book down, and soak in what had just occurred in a way that a superhero book does not.
Also by Charles Soule, out today is Swamp Thing #21, and his run on Red Lanterns starts with issue 22 out on July 24th all available from DC Comics. Make sure you check out his other books 27 from Image Comics, and Strongman from SLG Publishing.