Story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, Billy Hanson
Writer: Billy Hanson
Artwork: Renzo Rodriguez
Colors: Fran Gamboa w/ J.C. Ruiz
Letters: Fabio Amelia
This is a take on an urban legend about a mysterious television broadcast that infects a small town and causes illness or death.
We start in a small town in Wyoming, 2006. While a father, Marshall, and son, Jacob, and the son’s friend, Davis, are watching TV, the regular programming is hijacked and interrupted with a different broadcast in its place. Across the screen comes a creepy, stretched out and distorted evil looking face. The sound emanating from the television is one of a dark and unnerving nature, a voice spouting commanding statements, almost like warnings. “You have a sickness in you.” “You will see such pretty things.”
After viewing the broadcast many people get sick with headaches vomiting, blackouts, dizziness and seizures…and those are the ones that survive. The rest die including Marshall’s son, Jacob. However, Dad and the friend, Davis Mills, do not seem to be affected in any way. Because of this, the doctor overseeing the event and its aftermath, Dr. Zayas, requests to run extensive tests on the two of them.
The creepy thing is that this event is never heard of outside the town limits. No breaking news reports about a small town and the mysterious broadcast that wiped it out, no newspaper articles, no phone calls, nothing. And life around the world just goes on like normal.
Fast forward to 2018…
A zealous reporter named Astrid convinces her boss to let her go investigate the Wyoming incident. She has been digging and found out about the broadcast, having uncovered a string of similar cases within the past few weeks. This leads her to wanting to track down Marshall, one of the non-affected people and get the scoop. Against the wishes of her boss she takes the trip to Wyoming to get her story.
She finds Dr. Zayas and begins discussing things with him, revealing her discovery of recent similar cases. He emphatically and condescendingly denies that any such broadcast took place and demands she leave his hospital at once. On her way out, she encounters a man strapped to a gurney, screaming wildly as he tries to jump and grab her. Scared and shocked, a nurse walks up to make sure she’s okay. The nurse also tells her that she found an address for Marshall and she should go talk to him if she wants more information.
When she goes to Marshall’s house, he leads her to his basement (ummmm…yeah, HUGE RED FLAG but, moving on…) where he shows her the walls, plastered with polaroid pictures and information about the broadcast. This confirms her suspicions that there IS a broadcast and that something weird is going on.
It is at this point that Marshall very clearly warns Astrid and tells her to leave, before she falls into the black hole of obsessing over finding answers. Basically, for her own good, she really just needs to let this go and walk away. But, she does not heed his warning.
Soon, Dr. Zayas enters the room and she finds out that he and Marshall are in a sort of business deal together. They sell young bodies to older or elderly people and transplant their memories, personalities, everything to let them take over that younger body. They tell her that the broadcast is a test to see who is viable for transplant and who is not. Those that aren’t affected or minimally affected by the broadcast are perfect candidates for the procedure. Oh, and Davis Mills, the son’s friend, is the mastermind behind the whole transplant scheme, making billions of dollars and living forever.
Astrid also finds out one final and very vital piece of information…SHE is the next transplant subject…for Marshall.
I loved this issue. The twist at the end was fantastic. It was extremely well written and read swiftly and easily. This is another urban legend I am not familiar with. I did look it up and I guess people really tried to get this story going, so much so that snopes.com had to debunk it.
These guys always do a fantastic job but, this was an exceptional issue. It was a tale full of suspense and intensity, adding depth to a looming feeling of foreboding and doom. The cover is awesome as always but, the artwork inside in really good in this issue. The detail in the line work showing the facial expressions and emotions is stellar. I feel that it can be very difficult to accurately draw and portray facial expressions. Just the slightest change and you get a completely different result.
With every page turn, this gritty tale builds and builds, keeping your interest and entertaining you simultaneously. I highly recommend you pick this up if you get the chance. It’s definitely worth it.