Grab “The Accelerators” as fast as you can…
A review by Osvaldo Padilla
The Accelerators starts just as the name suggests it might — it moves fast and keeps picking up speed. Supercon in Miami Beach allowed me the chance to hang with the crew from Blue Juice Comics a few weeks ago and sample the first six-issue arc of this exciting new imprint’s premiere title. For fans of the time-travel sub-genre as and the multigenerational-gladiator-battles-to-the-death genre, this book is sure to please.
“We start out with our main characters sort of in a cat-and-mouse chase through time,” says penciller Gavin Smith. “They end up getting stuck in this postapocalyptic future and have to fight for their lives in a gladiator arena.”
It’s clear that writer R.F.I. Porto has intricately crafted a puzzle with a thousand pieces. Will our travelers return to their pasts? How do the Accelerators work? And, what the hell is really going on?
“The thing with our time travel is that we can only go forward,” says Smith. “One set of our time travelers are from the ’60s, one is from the ’90s. They’re trying to find their way back home, but they have to keep going forward and it just keeps getting crazier and crazier.”
Meanwhile, Smith’s expressive and elaborate pencils are among the finest on the comics pages these days. It’s as if his pens use adrenaline for ink. The gladiator games storyline allows him to have fun pitting a wide arrange of archetypes in battles that offer great eye candy and the gratuitous violence that modern comic book fans of a certain age and temperament have come to demand. While it may be a cheap trick, in the hands of this creative team, you can’t help but want to see these battles play out: a British Redcoat versus a Spanish Conquistador, a Mayan warrior versus a college professor, a gangster versus a knight. Of course, our protagonists get thrown into the bloodbath, which provides much of the action, but also interesting subplots and character development among gladiators and the mechanized mustachioed clones who run the games.
The cast is flanked by a pair of strong female characters who stay above the fray and pull strings rather than get caught in the scrum. Still, the gladiator gauntlet was a bit testosterone heavy and could have been helped by the addition of a few more kick-ass females. As it stands, a ballerina was a great punchline, but the only woman to be placed in the ring.
One recent review called Acclerators a “big two” book. It’s true that the book is well-edited and packaged, with gorgeous covers by Walter Flanagan. There are a current slew of independent books that, while being just as polished as the “big two” offerings, often surpass them. Accelerators is among them. While the “big two” are often hamstrung by their need to retread the same storylines and characters, books like this aren’t beholden to rules except their own — and that freedom has allowed the creators to take us on a hell of a ride.
Written by R.F.I. Porto
Pencils by Gavin P Smith
Inks by Gavin P Smith
Colors by Tim Yates
Letters by Crank!
Publisher: Blue Juice Comics
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Original Series, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
Page Count: 29 Pages
Age Rating: 15+ Only
Osvaldo Padilla is a 25-year veteran of the mainstream media conspiracy. He’s a professional journalist who currently works as a managing editor at Florida Weekly where he does his part to obfuscate the Illuminati’s grand scheme. He has won several Florida Press Association awards for his coverage of health care reform, drug addiction and other serious matters. He also writes a comic book called Amanda and the Big Giant Eyeball. @waddyisosvaldo