Special thanks to Konkret Comics for providing a digital copy for review!
Konkret Comics is an independent comic book publisher that has recently released their first round of issues including Akolyte #1, a cosmic superhero title.
Writer Derek “Lonzo Starr” Allen has created a cool and relatable hero in Demetri Price, a human from earth travelling the cosmos in search of meaning and purpose in his life. He is troubled by uncertainty and self-doubt and must learn to let go of his fears if he is to embrace his destiny. “Let the past fuel your future” is the through line and guiding theme of Demetri’s journey. The story itself is well-paced with exciting action beats throughout. Plot and lore exposition are handled very well and are never at the expense of the momentum of the story. The dialogue on the whole is engaging with just the right amount of funny moments sprinkled in.
My one major criticism would be the lack of information about Demetri’s life on earth. From page one, the reader is thrown right into the plot with very little in the way of set-up or explanation. I was left with several unanswered questions: Why did Demetri decide to leave earth? How did he meet the mysterious King Khalon? I get the sense that Demetri is carrying around some secret pain. If so, what is it? I’m sure these questions will all be answered in subsequent issues, but a little glimpse into Demetri’s past, perhaps by way of flashback, would have improved this issue.
I love comics that are set in outer space and if you’re a fellow sci-fi fan you’re going to find a lot to enjoy in Akolyte #1. The names of solar systems, planets, and characters, even the look of locations and the style of the outfits, all have a distinctly Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers vibe, harkening back to the Pulp/Golden Age of sci-fi. I love it!
All of the artwork is spectacular. The pencils, inks, and colors by Opi Hidayat and Michael Woods effortlessly propel the story forward. There is something interesting to look at on almost every page. Bruno Lima and Matheus Huve do a fantastic job with the cover and splash pages. This is a great looking comic, full stop.
***Skip to the final paragraph to avoid SPOILERS for Akolyte #1***
The meat of the plot takes place on a desolate world where Demetri encounters a humanoid cosmic entity (who I thought vaguely resembled Dr. Manhattan) that calls itself Abner. This being unlocks Demetri’s latent superhuman abilities including super strength and speed, flight, and energy projection. Abner reveals that he is known as a “supreme” and is apparently as old as the universe itself! Ages ago, Abner visited earth and fell in love with a human woman. His DNA was passed down the generations for millennia, lying dormant until finally being expressed in Demetri. Whether he likes it or not, Demetri is effectively the son of a supreme.
Abner trains Demetri in the use and proper control of his newfound powers, pushing him to his physical and emotional limits. This is certainly the most action-packed section of the issue. We are also introduced to two more cosmic entities: Kosmosa, the goddess of order, and Monitus, the “overseer.” Unfortunately, they only make brief cameos. That was disappointing! I was intrigued by these characters and wanted them to be a more substantial presence. I hope we’ll get to see more of them in subsequent issues. As Abner continues to train Demetri, the story transitions to an ending stinger where we are introduced of Veles, Mistress of Chaos, who is presumably the future Big Bad.
Overall, Akolyte #1 is a stunning debut for Lonzo Starr and company, serving as an entertaining and intriguing origin story for a brand-new cosmic hero. I am excited to see Demetri Price’s further adventures and to learn more about the amazing universe he inhabits. I can tell that issue #1 has only scratched the surface of the storytelling potential of this concept. I can definitely recommend Akolyte #1 to any science fiction and superhero fan!