Lt. Brandon Ross never wanted super powers. He never wanted to be in the military. He never wanted to be part of a secret government task-force that tries to keep the existence of the paranormal under-wraps, so all the happy little people can go about their lives thinking the world is nice and boring and safe. If it hadn’t been for his needing some way to get a DUI off of his record so he could apply for a real job, Lt. Brandon Ross would have stuck with his old job as a barista.
Right now, there’s a lot of things Lt. Brandon Ross REALLY doesn’t want. He doesn’t want to be teamed-up with a pervert like Josh “Skinwalker” Lake, whose power to take control of other people’s bodies remotely would be unsettling enough even if he didn’t seem to favor pretty young women. He doesn’t want to be spying on a former member of his squad, whose PTSD has him loosening his lips about his old job to civilians. And he doesn’t want to have to kill anyone.
Unfortunately, Lt. Brandon Ross’ body is not always his to control. Something lurks inside something Lt. Brandon Ross. Something powerful… and deadly!
The sales blurb for Retcon #1 describes it as “The reboot of a comic book miniseries that has never existed…” and “… an all-new, all-different issue #1!” Sadly, neither of these boasts prove to be accurate. There is no reference anywhere in this first issue to Matt Nixon’s high-concept of a reboot for a non-existent comic, and taken purely as a first issue this book inspires nothing but dé·jà vu.
Apart from the joke behind Lt. Brandon Ross’ code-name, there is nothing memorable or unique about Retcon #1. Our protagonist is a hipster Hulk rip-off, working for a SHIELD expy with the serial number filed off. He’s given little personality beyond not wanting to kill innocent people the government wants dead, if “not a murderer” can be considered a personality trait.
The artwork is similarly muddled and redundant. Toby Cypress reportedly took inspiration from the stranger workers of Steve Ditko and Jim Steranko for this series. While one can see shades of The Masters here and there, Cypress lacks their sense of proportion. The color art also tries too hard to be psychedelic, instead appearing sloppy and randomly applied.
Retcon #1 fails to be “all-new” or “all-different”, delivering more of the same tired covert superheroic schlock. The artwork is messy, the story mediocre and there’s no sign of the big idea promised by the sales blurb. In short, Retcon #1 needs another reboot to be worth reading.