HomeBooksMaterial #1 Review

Material #1 Review

Written by Christian Bischoff


Image is a comic brand known for its willingness to push the boundaries, to take risks on unconventional books that would be otherwise untouchable to other publishers. Material is one such comic, an intellectual piece rather than a heroic one, priming the reader with thought provoking questions as opposed to lively action sequences. Author Ales Kot (writer of the hit series Zero) takes the breath away with a one-two punch of realism, writing on current issues that plague our society today.

The book follows the development of four main characters; a washed up actress, given the role of her life, a wrongfully convicted man recently returned home from Guantanamo Bay, a young boy who survives a riot and is swept up into a new revolutionary movement, and an MIT professor battling writer’s block and changing times.

Kot’s new series tears at the heartstrings, taking aim at the problems that have taken center stage in America. “Our chief aim is to be truthful about LIFE as it is NOW through a vast VARIETY of explored HUMAN EXPERIENCE.”[1]


In its first issue, Material achieves its goal, encompassing several uncomfortable truths that America as a society has come to breed. As such, do not expect an easy read out of this book; Material is no beach read. The book aims to unsettle the reader, to stir up feelings of hurt and disgust that rouse the reader to further action. Kot aims for revolution via hard truth, writing of the ugly end of America in an attempt to spur change. The comic reads at times like a propaganda piece, as Kot’s depictions are so strong that a reader cannot help but feel enraged but the injustices that propagate throughout. Kot’s attempts to incorporate several different storylines leave the story feeling disjointed at best, tied together only by the negative undertones that are weaved throughout the book.

Artist Will Tempest’s work throughout the comic complements the writing beautifully, creating tension and conveying emotion through expert use of color. Traditional nine panel pages become mosaics of alternating warm and cool colors, highlighting different characters and the varying moods of individual scenes. At its core, Material is an academic comic, written by intellectuals, for intellectuals. The book begins with a lecture on man’s place in the world in light of the advances of the digital age, and features references to the theories of prominent German philosophers Hegel and Schopenhauer.

Nearly every page is given a footnote that links the text to other pieces of media, from Wired articles and French film soundtracks to fine art. The book is written for the educated elite of the Information Age, men and women with an interest reaching all forms of published media. As such, Material is not a book for the casual reader. All in all, Material engages the reader, and forces a careful consideration of the complex political landscape that has birthed the problems that face our society today. That being said, Material is written for a very specific type of reader, and any not within this group of media hungry intellectuals will find themselves sorely left out.

Rating: 8/10


Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.


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