Not too long ago I had heard of a comic called Tech Watch, created by writer Radi Lewis and published by his Chameleon Creations imprint. It was a sci-fi, espionage book with cool art and a promising story, so when I got my cash up I sprung for a copy to see what the deal was.
At the beginning of the book, we find ourselves witnessing a raid in progress. The black ops mercenary group known as the A.N.T.S(Assault. Nano. Tech. Soldiers) led by Isaiah Grey infiltrate the laboratory of Dr. Sebastian Lyons who possesses technology that, is important to Isaiah’s research. Initially, Isaiah had asked Lyons to join his organization to pool their knowledge, but the good doctor refused prompting the invasion. With a gun to his head and the A.N.T.S surrounding him Dr. Lyons is dead to rights, or is he, as the team search his lab and find no way to interface with his computers. What’s worse there the doctor can’t be threatened, with Isaiah doing his best not to give Lyons a lead lobotomy, the doctor unveil his master stroke. He unleashes a virus, which begins to eat away at the A.N.T.S hard drive in their HQ known as the ‘Hive’. Fed up with Sebastian’s defiance, Isaiah executes him, copies the knowledge directly from the doctors brain and exits. That is where the real story starts as eight months later someone or something takes Isaiah’s base in the Arctic Circle offline, someone looking for revenge.
Radi Lewis, paints the portrait of a man willing to do anything he has to get what he want in this Spy-Fi epic, however it is not made clear why the reader should be invested. Isaiah Grey reminds me of a cross between Nino Brown and Lex Luthor. I wouldn’t consider either man endearing, but both have their complexities and reasons why we love to hate them. I wish I could love to hate Isaiah, but I just can’t seem to be bothered. His braggadocio and lust for power are fine, but they’re surface, and the back story is much-needed. Dr. Lyons seems like he could have been an interesting character but dies too early and we eventually learn he wanted the same thing as Grey and that’s world domination. That sort of character was great for the Golden and Silver ages of comics, but in the post Moore-Miller era, fans call for characters of depth, be they hero, villain or anti-hero. The large amount of exposition in the beginning of the story doesn’t help either, as the reason for the Arctic Circle trip could’ve been illustrated in a few pages instead of explained outright. Tech Watch, however, does end off on a bit of a cliff hanger and though it’s only mentioned a few times the H.A.R.D.W.A.R.E project seems intriguing enough to stay with the story.
Tech Watch has to be one of the most professionally illustrated independent comics I have ever read. Ernesto Vicente does a great job of capturing the scale of this story from the tech to the facial expressions. The head’s up displays look like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel and makes me wish that this kind of tech existed now. While Mike Borromeo makes the sleek, chrome sheen of the future shine, with dark tones and glossy finishes. This is the level of art, by which all indie creators, black or otherwise should judge their work.
I love reading comics by black creators, however they usually feel rushed and unfinished. Tech Watch doesn’t feel rushed per say, but there is a sense that more time could’ve been put into the character development. I am not saying that this is a bad comic, it has potential and would probably read very well as a trade paper back, but as of the first issue there are very few things keeping me invested in the story. If you’d like to pick up a copy of Tech Watch, go to chameleoncreationsllc.com, Amazon.com, Comixology or your local comic book shop.
This review was written by Ra'Chaun Rogers on behalf of Concept Moon Studios. If you enjoy his comic reviews click here or more