Something a little different today. All Against All isn’t out yet but I was very lucky to get an advanced copy. Details of how to pre-order it are at the bottom of the post.
B’Tay is an Operator, part of an alien race. He’s also a scientist and in way over his head. All Against All starts, at least, as an unusually terrifying office comedy. Writer Alex Paknadel placing very familiar beats, and trauma, inside an alien body. There’s office intrigue, familial stress, murder. And in the middle of it, and hating every second, B’Tay. Alex Paknadel’s script surprises from page one. There’s a very personal moment of physical trauma that powers the story and beat after beat that tells you about B’Tay’s people without being expository. Casual, cruel, offhandedly arrogant but mundane they present as very familiar. They bicker, they fight, they feel terror and most of all they politick for control. B’Tay’s rival and new boss has an upgraded body that looks like a sports car made of murder and Caspar Wijngaard gives him some glorious swagger. But B’Tay, arrogant, nervous and with good reason, is the de facto hero so far. He’s also a war criminal and Paknadel’s script makes the moral centre of the book as mutable as the genetics of its lead. The art is fluid, brutal and unflinching, finding fragility in the alien monsters at its core.
That’s how clever All Against All is, mixing Paknadel’s eye for dialogue and scope with Wijngard’s liquid energy and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou‘s subtley and sense of voice. This isn’t the book it starts out as. It’s even better. Even if B’Tay’s day gets even worse. All Against All makes something new and dangerous out of ground that’s familiar. It’s brilliantly executed and if you want it, you can and should pre-order it before Monday. I will, because I really want to see where this goes.
All Against All 1 is released December 7th. Give your comic store this code, Diamond ID: OCT220047, before Monday and they’ll pre-order it for you meaning the book’s much more likely to succeed. Your local comic shop is here, mine is here.