Brent Marks is not a freak. He is one of the Pariah, a group of teens who become extremely intelligent after being cured of a genetic disorder. Although in most ways a normal teen, Brent is considered dangerous and is tracked down by the government who see these kids as an enormous threat. Can he evade them? What do they have planned for Brent and the others?
Pariah is the brain child of Oscar-winning film producer Aron Warner. He came up with the idea after reading an article about in-vitro genetic manipulation. The main characters are teenagers called Vitros who have become super-intelligent as a result of genetic “cures”. Aron, along with illustrator Brett Weldele (The Surrogates) and script writer Philip Gelatt, have partnered with Sea Lion Books to create a new type of hero. There will be 12 issues in this series, with a graphic novel after each 4th issue.
The art work caught my attention first because it isn't like most YA graphic novels. The colors used are subdued and it looks more like watercolor work which seems to fit the tone of the story.
At the beginning we meet a very melancholy Brent Marks. We get an opening narrative of Brent’s thoughts as he tries to convince both the reader and himself that he is not a freak. We follow Brent though his day where we learn he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the kids. No one in school understands or cares about his ideas and he is socially awkward when trying to talk to a girl. He refers to home as just a “shelter” because he doesn’t have a good relationship with his parents. Through his narrative we learn that he is a Vitro, a teenager with extraordinary intelligence because of his genetic cure. Expressing his intelligence exhilarates him, but it also scares him and he must hide it from society at large. Brent chose not to go live with the other Vitros because he wanted a normal life.
Unfortunately for him and all the other Vitros, a government facility is blown up releasing a deadly virus. The media and government blame it on the Vitros and a witch hunt follows. Brent ends up creating a device to keep some bullies from trying to hurt him, but it appears to have killed them. Brent decides it's safer to go on the run and find the others like him. He makes the mistake of going home to pack and gets captured by the government.
The ground work for the story is being set up in this first issue and therefore there isn’t a lot of action yet. I don’t feel I can make an accurate assessment of the comic based on the first issue. I will hold off judgment until I have read more.
Sheep in waiting...
SS (edited by BAK)