Graphic Novel Review: Twenty-Seven: First Set

Writer: Charles Soule

Artwork: Renzo Podesta

Cover Artist: W. Scott Forbes

Publisher: Image Comics


By Nolan Patrick Smith

(Victor Valley)–The twenty-seven club; just the very name evokes a mystery all its own. The twenty-seven are a group of musicians who rose to stardom, left their mark, then died at the young age of, you guessed it, 27. The list includes Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and the most recent addition, Amy Winehouse. Is it one big coincidence, or are there greater forces at work? In Twenty-Seven: First Set, that’s the question that’s answered in a very creative way.

Design: This collection of the first series of Twenty-Seven stands out for many reasons, one being the size. Now, when I say size, I don’t mean the page count, I mean the actual dimensions of the pages themselves, which are larger than a modern day comic page. Using the oversized golden age sized pages; the books height and width are notably larger, just as the single issues were. The cover has a painted feel to it, as all the covers for the single issues did. W. Scott Forbes handles the cover chores, and does so masterfully. The look and feel from the cover translates into the design of the entire book: from the actual comic pages to the extras, it all ties in nicely.

Story: The story is about Will Garland, a famous musician who loses his ability to play the guitar due to a neurological disorder. Falling from fame fast, Garland finds a scientist who claims he can help, and that’s where the story goes crazy. Instead of getting his ability to play back, Garland winds up with a strange box-like device implanted in his chest. One push of a button, and he is granted a gift for a limited amount of time. Gifts range from being able to play again, to sculpting, to some very strange, awe-inducing powers. But everything has a price, and our young protagonist soon learns that once he presses the button 27 times, he dies.

Supernatural elements are abound, as there are powers in the universe working to grants these powers, and to ultimately collect. A very entertaining tale of surprise, intrigue and of course, music, writer Charles Soule knocks out a modern day masterpiece with Twenty-Seven.

Art: Renzo Podesta provides the interior art, and brings a feel all its own. His angular and at times demented style is a perfect fit for this tale. The colors help to bring the atmosphere to life in all its glory. This was my first encounter with Podesta’s art, but I am definitely on the watch for him now.

Overall: I came across Twenty-Seven purely by accident a few months back. It was seeing the cover of the first issue that sucked me in, and I have been a fan ever since. This collection presents the entire first arc, as well as an awesome short story about the fabled “crossroads”, and tons of extras. This collection is just in time, as Twenty-Seven: Second Set #1 just went on sale last week. So, now is the perfect time to jump into this world of originality and music. Highly Recommended, I give Twenty-Seven: First Set a ***** out of 5.

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