Written by Michael Moreci
Illustrated by Ron Salas
Coloured by Tamra Bonvillain
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Published by Black Mask Studios
There is a very special sort of vibe to Transference very early on. You know that feeling you get when you are in the midst of a really good film or drawn deeper into the pages of a book that causes you to readjust your seat? That’s the kind of feeling that Transference gives off from its earliest pages.
After a quick introduction of the three main secret agent characters, Colton, Sommes and Jordan, through a peek into a Paris operation eight months ago, the concept of the book is revealed. The three agents work for an organization that time travel to carry out various jobs, ensuring at the same time that their actions have no ramifications on the time line of their own present reality. Time travel is a very tough thing to tackle; no matter the source material. Michael Moreci is no stranger to science fiction stories however, tackling difficult subject matters and multi-layered narrations in his brilliant series Roche Limit.
As already evidenced by this first strong issue, Moreci has planted clues here and there that hint towards the ramifications of dealing with time travel. Certain moments of dialogue and images are sure to come to fruition as this series progresses, rewarding the long term reader to absorb each issue more attentively and potentially draw one to look back as well. What begins as the rescue operation of a Dr. Ormon (inventor of the time travel technology) from a terrorist named Fasad, quickly turns into a more personal mission for our titular characters.
The creative team extends out to the deeply shadowed lines and inks of Ron Salas. His shadowing on characters faces hides their imperfections for now, also providing a solid understanding of texture on the multiple hairstyles and crumpling of clothing. Salas’s motion lines are evident early on as he captures the quick pace of a racing train that explodes from an interior bomb, capturing sudden action with appropriate facial expressions. He also experiments a bit with depth within a single frame as he juxtaposes the train explosion from the reflection of a car window as Colton sits in the interior.
Tamra Bonvillain’s colours are once again a big part to enhancing the overall vibe of a book. Her understanding of balancing light and shadow with this spy story is evident from the first few pages, warming the colder blues and blacks through the train explosion’s splashing of vibrant layers of oranges, reds, and yellows. Bonvillain’s colouring maintains a minimalist appearance through most of the issue though, never impeding on the shadowing of Salas’s linework.
Jim Campbell‘s lettering adds to the cinematic flow of the issue. His placements for word balloons and sound effects effectively respect the artwork while pushing forward the story with a steady, fluid motion and elevate the impact of the louder moments.
Transference #1 is a great example of executing a premise through sleek visuals and a confident, tight script that is light on heavy information. There are too many titles out there that choose to throw a large amount of information early on and can really learn a thing or two by gradually forming a world over time while simultaneously thrusting the reader into the driver seat. If Transference is the first Black Mask Studios title to reach your eyes, the time is now to expand your horizons.