Pullbox Reviews: New Rat City #1 – A day in the life of a New York City exterminator, circa 2083

First issue is now live on Kickstarter! (Ends on the 18th)

(From the website) New York City, 2083. After decades of floods, infrastructure disasters, and abandonment, the city is limited to northern Manhattan and a few enclaves in the Bronx and Staten Island.

Pest controllers keep the city livable for the few people who remain. But by law they’re limited to using non-lethal methods like sound cannons and pheromones. 

As one pest controller, Felicia Shepherd, deals with the swarms of rats and roaches plaguing her clients, she discovers a horrible secret hiding deep within the city.

New Rat City is a four-issue miniseries that will be released digitally in single issues and in print as Part One (#1-2) and Part Two (#3-4).

A while back, I got hold of a great comic that dug its way into a niche that’s kind of a favorite of mine. Andraste is a historical fiction tale that goes all the way back to the fringes of the Roman Empire, and the the people who just didn’t feel like being a part of it anymore. For her next trick, writer Honor Vincent is going in the other direction with New Rat City, a not-too-futuristic look at the world of big city pest control. Vincent does a good job of setting up her characters, using a combination of sharp writing with good dialogue, and a great use of show don’t tell. Felicia Shepherd and her father Liam, himself a retired pest controller disabled in the line of duty, are given time to introduce themselves to readers through their interactions over the course of a day in their lives. It’s a great way to get know the players in this little drama, being able to dip in on their conversations, and Vincent pulls it off nicely.

Backing up Vincent’s writing, the art team of George Quadros & colorist DC Alonso presents a New York City of the near future. Quadros has a crystal clear style that leaves nothing to the imagination… in the case of Liam Shepherd’s career ending very bad day, not even when some may have wished otherwise. The polish on Quadros’s lines give all kinds of great attention to details in the world being built. The visuals are given depth with Alonso’s colors, again sticking to a very clear style with the use of a bright color palette. The combined affect of illustration & color takes New Rat City in a direction that might seem at odds with its subject, bright & clear rather than grungy, but it works with the tone that Vincent seems to be setting up in the script.

A semi-dystopian New York that’s one bad day away from being wholly ruled by rodents and roaches shouldn’t look this bright, shouldn’t be populated with generally positive people. But it is, and it works. With the combined efforts of a great team of creators, New Rat City is a smart piece of speculation and just an all around entertaining read. Hop on over to the Kickstarter page and give it a look. For you ambitious types, there’s even a reward tier that gives you some input on where the series winds up…

Final Score: 10/13

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