The Pull List – Steel Cage #1

Three comics enter, one shall walk away to continue their story. AHOY Comics packs three stories together in Steel Cage, a testing ground that sees comic concepts. Fans will vote for their favorite of the stories, with the winner getting its own continuation in a new series from AHOY. The stories are created by multiple creative teams and each explore a different genre. The first story, True Identity, a mighty earth hero reflects his true identity past. The second story, Bright Boy, the world’s smartest human wishes to save the rest of humanity, but at a grave cost. The third story, Noah Zark, a young boy journey across space to rescue captive creatures.  It’s a superhero origin verse a sci-fi drama, against a family-friendly space fantasy adventure, winner story takes it all!

True Identity is written by Tom Peyer and illustrated by Alan Robinson. It follows a crisis that is saved by Penultiman, a super-evolved human from a different time and place. During the day, Penultiman is in disguised as FBI agent Wayne. Wayne is bumbling and not liked by his co-workers, agents Dallas and Smitty. However, when New York is in great danger, he changes his appearance to be the famous Penultiman and springs into action. But why does he perform these thankless heroics? The man from the future has his reasons, but its the world ready to hear it?

Tom Peyer whips up a fun concept about what motivates a superhero. Penultiman has the typical characteristics of the heroes with a strong sense of justice, but underneath the costume is someone trying to reach a connection that does not exist. At least not in this time period. Alan Robinson artwork is lively, with characters overexpressing their feelings in wonderful detail. The looks of panic, excitement, and sorrow all come across very clearly in Robinson’s work. This comic has an excellent introduction that builds up a character with some familiar tones while bringing in some tragic backstory that incidents the reader.

Bright Boy is written by Stuart Moore and illustrated by Peter Gross. Doctor Litman is asked by the U.S government to prevent a national blackout caused by hackers. With his superior intelligence, Doctor Litman must reorganize the nations computer system to avoid a disaster. But his gifted mind hides a curse, something that has devasting problems if unleashed. Doctor Litman wants to be the world’s savior, but could unwillingly be its destroyer.

Stuart Moore presents a struggling protagonist that must try to do right while keeping his inner demon at bay. Doctor Litman is a brilliant but overconfident hero that harbors a curse that he tries to keep a secret. Moore foreshadows the terror that is to come with his story. The pacing is well done for the short story. It introduces the core narrative and characters, as well as offering a surprise twist. Peter Gross’s artwork plays with moody tones and keeps the mystery of Doctor Litman’s secret focus. There are inspirations from the Incredible Hulk that feels right at home with this dramatic story. The duality of being both a hero and a monster is universality appealing and should gather some attention.

Noah Zark is written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Lanna Souvanny. A space crew lead by a young boy, travel across space to bring creatures back to their homeworlds. But their former captors are on their trail and want to put them back into their intergalactic zoo. These creatures are watched by a vigilant young protector that is trying his best return his friends home.

Mark Waid out of galactic space adventure follows one crew’s mission to delivery stolen creatures back home. The story skips ahead to the crew’s latest drop off, avoiding explanation from this rescue operation. The characters are well drawn and give just enough bits of information to build the story, without feeling bloated by extra details. Lanna Souvanny artwork is bright and cheerful, with alien designs coming in all shapes and sizes. Some alien creatures are mixtures of real-life animals, while others are colorful imaginative models.  This plays up the fantasy science and just has fun with the otherworldly adventure. 

Each story has interesting premises and great development, but there can only be one winner. Pick up a copy today and check out the stories, then vote by tagging AHOY Comics on their social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Voting ends July 12th, 2019.

Steel Cage #1 is on sale now starting June 26th, 2019.

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