Pullbox Reviews Download- Teenage sci fi action… Knowledge is Power!

Students by day, aspiring comic book creators by night, Eric and his friends are discussing the intricacies of what makes a story great. The eternal debate over the correct plot/explosion ratio is put on the back burner when Eric falls unconscious. Waking up in a hospital bed, the young artist is confused over what he alone experienced. Where Eric saw a bright light shining down on him like a spotlight, his friends just saw him staring up into space before collapsing.

Even more confusing for Eric are the images flashing through his mind, schematics and diagrams for machines, the function of which he knows nothing about. It’s as if a flood of raw information has been downloaded directly into his brain, and now is eager to come out. When the compulsion to draw out these strange gizmos isn’t enough, Eric starts to build…

We’re living in the AoG (Age of Google), so the concept of easy access to information without context- knowledge without learning- should be familiar. With arguments to be made both for and against the benefits/drawbacks of being able to pull data out of thin air without a concern for understanding, it’s an idea tailor made for science fiction storytelling. So it goes that a team of comic creators, older than Eric and his friends but no less determined, has taken pen to paper to take Google one step farther.

Scott Chitwood’s script seems well-suited for a younger audience, keeping his plot moving along at a pace that might be able to compete with TicToc for the attention of his audience. There are points where he might have been able to let the illustrations do the heavy lifting & dialed back on the explanatory dialogue, but he does good work bringing personality to his characters. Of the three main players, we know that Eric’s the artist, his buddy Taylor is the writer, and the colorist is… um… the girl sitting on the lounge chair on page three. Hopefully that’s not some kind of subliminal dig on colorists in general.

Artist Danny Luckert is doing really good work here, presenting some solid character designs and laying out the action behind Chitwood’s scripts. Given that all of the characters are average, everyday 12 year olds and that there really isn’t much “action” until later in the book, keeping things moving along must have been a feat. What really stood out for me is how animated Luckert makes all of his characters, and their facial expressions go a long way toward directing the tone of the book. I’m also kind of a fan of his page layouts, with overlapping panels to move the eyes along in the absence of more dynamic action. Luckert’s lines are fleshed out by the work of colorist PH Gomes (don’t worry, I wouldn’t forget about you), who does a great job with lighting and effects as Eric and crew move from garage to hospital room to backyard.

The work of Troy Peteri & Dave Lanphear is pretty understated, which isn’t a bad thing when it comes to lettering. Comic dialogue should work with the pictures to tell the story, and at no point does Team Download let it get in the way of the art. There was some clever use of sound effects, but again it’s kept relatively subtle and doesn’t interfere with or overshadow the rest of the page. With Download being somewhat wordy, that’s an even more important balance to keep.

Download is a slick little science fiction story in the same ballpark as Goosebumps in the horror genre. It’s a perfectly fine story for the 10 to 14-year-old range, with plenty to offer adult readers looking for some fun. We’ll see if Chitwood and company explore some of the more serious themes hinted at in the quote used on the credit page:

Final Score: 10/13

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