REVIEW: “S.H.O.O.T. First” #1

(Dark Horse Comics, 2013)

Review by Brad Gischia

Story – Justin Aclin
Art – Nicolas Daniel Selma
Colors – Marlac
Lettering – Amanda Aguilar Selma

“Look before you leap…” “Never judge a book by its cover…” these sayings have a way of threading their way into our speech and thought, lessons that books and parents drilled into us to help us as we grew older. I encourage you not to look before you leap on new comic book day, because it will simply ruin the ending for you. Judge the book by its cover as well, and you’ll come out okay.

This Wednesday Dark Horse releases S.H.O.O.T. First. Writer Justin Aclin has created a team that is together for more than just a cool acronym. (The Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce.) This is an interesting spin on a now familiar theme, a team that fights those elements in the world that would enslave humanity or try to use them for their own nefarious purposes. This team, as inferred by the name, is made up of people who have a complete lack of faith in the divine. Even their weapons, designed by S.H.A.R.D. (Secular Humanist Applications Research and Development), are designed so that they cannot be fired by anyone of faith.

What could this group possibly be defending against? Angels and Demons, Yetis and Jinn, nothing is out of the realm of possibility for this group, and therein lies the distinction. This is the point that separates them from all other comic of the same theme. They are a group of the faithless that fight against the very creatures that should give them faith. What better way to inspire a doubter than to show them an angel? How do you remain faithless in the face of the physical manifestation of a faith? And in seeing that manifestation, how can you doubt any other faith system?

Each of the creatures they face, the “outside actors” have the power to influence some kind of faith system. It is this very reason that the S.H.O.O.T team wants to take them out. They have some inside info from an outside actor that the battle between science and religion is coming to a head and they want to prevent an apocalypse.

This book is beautifully done, Nicolas Daniel Selma has helped create a beautiful world with great pencils and Marlac has used bright coloring to make the pages pop.

I love the premise of this book. How can a team that fights angels still not believe? What events caused them to lose their belief? Could you fail to choose a side when you’re staring an angel and a demon in the face? These questions just skim the surface of what could be dealt with in a book like this, one that combines a team book with the supernatural and sci-fi, S.H.O.O.T First has it all. When it comes to pulling the trigger on this one on Wednesday, Aclin and Selma have made it easier to shoot first and ask questions later.

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Follow Brad Gischia on Twitter:  @comicwasteland

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