Comic Review: The Remnant
Issue: The Remnant TPB
Release Date: January 13, 2010
Creator: Stephen Baldwin
Story: Stephen Baldwin and Andrew Cosby
Script: Caleb Monroe
Artist(s): Julian Totino Tedesco
Cover(s): Paul Azaceta with Andrew Dalhouse, Julian Totino Tedesco
Colors: Andres Lozano
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
From the minds of actor Stephen Baldwin and writers Andrew Cosby and Caleb Monroe comes a story that combines espionage with the supernatural. When CIA agent David Sacker is thrust into a domestic terror case, it’s an action-packed race to save himself and, most importantly, his wife.
This trade was a bit of a sneak attack for me. It consists of four issues/chapters, and for the most part it’s all crazy government, terrorist hunting super-action — until the end of Chapter 3 through Chapter 4. Then it was like a big old smack in the face with the “duh” stick (because the title should have clearly clued me in) as I realized what I’d really been reading was a religious comic the entire time. I’m not saying this is a bad thing in this case; it could have easily and quickly turned into a preachfest where Baldwin, Cosby, and Monroe try to save your eternal soul. The way the story is paced out didn’t leave room for that, and it remained a fun, albeit abrupt, read.
The story revolves around David Sacker, a CIA agent and newlywed, who gets pushed into a major tiff with Homeland Security after a bomber explodes the building he worked in. It’s more his wife, Sarah, that interests Homeland Security. However, being ex-mil on some pretty heavy-duty secret stuff means he has connections that immediately rub the super cranky, redheaded Homeland officer the wrong way. From then on out, it quickly turns into David needing to protect Sarah from people trying to kill her (why is never really explained), and then her finding out she’s preggers and disappearing with a boatload of the world’s population.
A reoccurring theme in both the Hebrew and Christian bibles, “the remnant” is basically what’s left over after a society/community/group of people goes through some kind of catastrophe. Not being a religious scholar myself, I’m not entirely clear on what kind of catastrophe has to happen. There are a number that happen throughout the span of this trade (Hurricane Katrina starts us off, and what smells an awful lot like The Rapture ends the trade), and there are a number of groups left alive after they happen. Now, the remnant is usually the group that ultimately gets “saved” after a period of time, and the definition of “saved” obviously depends on what flavor of religion is your choice.
Why do I bring this all up? Because I’m curious why they titled a four-part series after this when it really didn’t have anything to do with its namesake. At all. After I finished the trade, I went online to see when the second four-part series for the title was coming out (because that’s the way most of the four-part minis from BOOM! roll) and discovered the original issues for this came out late 2008-early 2009. So as it stands now, this is all the story you’re going to get. If you’re like me, that fact makes the end suck rocks because it just ends right when things are getting real supernatural. It’s like how the final season of Battlestar Galactica had a year gap between the first half and last half.
Comparing this title to a television show may not be too far off. It feels like a TV show. In fact, the official description for it likens it to 24. I know it’s all the rage lately, but comics are comics. They are not movies and they are not TV shows. In certain ways, they far exceed both movies and TV in the emotional response it can create, and the minute you intentionally make a comic like you’re just storyboarding a TV show kills the magic a comic book can have. Sure, the story is fast-paced, gets right to the meat, but it also completely leaves out things that readers might want to know (for instance, why it’s so important that Sarah be protected). There’s very little background given on the characters (which makes it difficult to care about what’s happening to them), there is a major time jump right before the end, and both of these factors hinder the overall enjoyment of the story.
I mean, you can have those inner dialogues where the character’s thoughts are out there for the reader to know. That might have been helpful when in the middle of being on the run from the government and after finding out someone planted a bomb at their house, Sarah all of a sudden gives David the slip to buy a pregnancy test. It totally came out of nowhere, and felt like a cheap attempt at trying to connect the reader to this character. Especially at the end when she finds out she is pregnant and then disappears. Something could have been done to explain that, or how/why Homeland Security let them go after they were arrested at the end. A lot of things could have used a little more detail for this title to really get me hooked in the story and the characters.
The first 3/4 of the trade, I found absolutely engrossing despite all this. I got into the action and the government shenanigans, and of course Tedesco’s artwork totally hooked me (even if Sarah didn’t look way younger than David like the character dialogue would have you believe). It was the last 1/4 of the book that left me with the “not again” feeling of these miniseries. It may just be me, but a miniseries in comics should feel like one satisfying, self-contained story. You may or may not want more, but you definitely feel like what you got was a full story that can stand on its own. This one left too many things out to feel like that for me, and in the end was a quick and easy read that didn’t leave me thinking about the “big questions of life” like the creators might have wanted it to.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars