“Material” #4 (10 out of 10) Written by Ales Kot (“Zero”, “Secret Avengers”); Art by Will Tempest (“Zero”); Cover by Tom Muller (“Wolf”, “Divinity”); Published by Image Comics; Publication Date: September 2, 2015

One of my favorite new books of the 2015 summer has been “Material” by Ales Kot. With spectacular art by Will Tempest and a hefty helping of wonderful essays in the back pages, “Material” has been a delight to read since the first issue. The story is an intertwined tale of the seemingly everyday lives of everyday people. The circumstances in some cases may seem extraordinary but, as the pages turn and each story evolves, the stories have a very “grounded in reality” feel to them.

The simple colors with strong character acting from Will Tempest tell all in one book, a mystery, a thriller, a love triangle and a coming of age story. The mystery involves a professor and author who may have met an alien through the Internet. The thriller is set in a timely urban setting where a youth has to deal with being a victim of police brutality against black Americans. The love triangle involves a Muslim family dealing with relationship issues but turns into a powerful message of strength in femininity all women can muster if they dare. The other tale may not quite be a coming of age but as of issue #4 I’m not quite sure what to make of it short of that kind of storytelling trope as a young actress weaves her way through Hollywood.

Best Comic Book This Week: 'Material' #4
Image Credit: Image Comics - "Material #4"

It’s not just the decidedly un-fantastic nature of “Material” that excites me with every issue, it’s also the peppered in politics, intellectualism, and passion for music that Ales Kot has included as part of the book. On every page of the police brutality storyline there are names of young men and women killed by police in the last year. You can look up each one of their names through in included link in issue #4 to killedbypolice.net. That kind of messaging is also accompanied by notes to “Play:” followed by an artist and a track.

Best Comic Book This Week: 'Material' #4
Image Credit: Image Comics - "Material #4"

I found that playing the song from Youtube while slowly reading the pages to the point of absorption to be a wonderful addition to the Comics medium. Those are of course just the icing on a cake of intellectual links or “see this author, this book” footnotes. I find myself reading a wiki article and then reading pages over again because the story itself only becomes that much more clear.

“Material” isn’t a sci-fi, a western, a horror, a capes and tights super-hero story or any other genre typical to the pages of a floppy comic book you find on a spinner rack. It is so much more while also being nothing of note. It is the ordinary done in a comics medium with a concerted effort on the creative team to tell a dramatic story that draws in the reader while offering an introduction to new ideas and new music.

Ales Kot made mention on his blog about the essay in issue #4 not being properly accredited due to a production oversight. If you pick up the issue, as you should, be sure to visit the blog to get the scoop on the wonderfully talented writer of the essay in the back by Bijan Stephen. While your at it though, you may as well reserve your copy of the collected volume coming next month and reserve your issue of #5 due out in October.

TL;DR I find the material in “Material” to be of exceptional quality. It is a comic book that is beautifully simple but poignant and timely. 10/10


Best Comic Book This Week: 'Material' #4
Image Credit: Image Comics


Best Comic Book This Week: 'Material' #4
Image Credit: Image Comics


Best Comic Book This Week: 'Material' #4
Image Credit: Image Comics


Best Comic Book This Week: 'Material' #4
Image Credit: Image Comics

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Tags: Pick Of The Week , Image Comics , Best Comic This Week