AWA Studios Absolution #1 The Nerdy Basement

Absolution #1 Review: An Exciting Action Thriller Showcasing The Worst Of Humankind

Absolution #1 gets the adrenaline pumping from the get-go.

Absolution is the newest addition to the ever-increasing roster AWA/Upshot is producing. With Peter Milligan and Mike Deodato Jr at the helm, Absolution #1 gets the adrenaline pumping from the get-go. Set in the undisclosed future, Absolution tells the story of Nina Ryan. Once a misguided youth whose first job was as a cartel mercenary, she racked up multiple kills in a short amount of time. After being double-crossed and captured by police, she was charged and, because of a rare medical anomaly in her brain, was not given the death sentence. Instead, Nina Ryan was put into a program known as Absolution. Now, she must perform hits for the government in order to redeem herself. 

The kicker here, and ultimately the overall premise, is that all of Nina’s government work is live-streamed online. In order for Nina to achieve redemption or absolution as it’s known, is to excite the viewers at home and receive a high enough score to be set free, otherwise, the bombs inserted into her body will blow her to smithereens. Having an ex-mercenary turned government employee is not, as such, an original idea but the way this series ties it into today’s society’s obsession with voyeurism through social media hits the nail on the head.

Scattered throughout the comic panels are online chat elements, i.e. viewer comments, and they range from love affirmations to simping, from racist and sexist comments to threats of violence. All the while, the absolution live-stream is also being discussed on TV like any other sports game might be commentated. And none of this is far from the world we might live online.

Anybody who has played an online game with chat functions (Call of Duty, Fortnite) or read a heated comment thread has been exposed to these types of comments, and Milligan points light to it. I also chuckled when a few random ads for other mobile games or crypto popped up too. These aspects are fine-tuned indicators showing the authors know their material. 

To build on Milligan’s writing, he has utilized familiar story structures to bring forward a new concept. Being narrated by Nina Ryan, we get an insight into the experience from her perspective and she is a unique character. Nina is aware of her previous misgivings and knows her current job at hand but, even in Issue One, drifts between single-minded victory and “who gives a shit”.

Milligan has also built a robust vocabulary into Nina’s thoughts and speech, something I relished as it not only showcases her character even more but supplements the maturity of the comic. With his writing, Milligan also enables side characters—the viewers at home, the hit, the commentators—to each have their unique quirks and personalities, e.g. username Maxxxthng deals exclusively in sexual comments. And these character traits are enhanced through the amazing artwork of Deodato Jr. 

As I have come to expect, Mike Deodato’s artwork is detailed, refined, and as close to perfect as you can get. A shoutout to the coloring of Lee Loughridge as well. I love that the cover resembles an action movie poster! The locations are simple yet comprehensive enough to provide an immediate understanding of the environment, especially the opening skyline shot.

Action sequences are brutal and gorgeously gruesome, showcasing the meticulous detail of each aspect, e.g. my personal favorites being the gunshot blasts to evoke a sense of urgency or the little blood splatters as Nina stabs out an eye or shoots the fingers off an assailant. Lastly, I noticed Nina’s face is constantly half-shrouded in shadow; is this an indication of her aforementioned thought process or just the shadowing of the environment?

This publication is unequivocally another show-stopping addition to AWA’s growing titles. Absolution has the potential to become a huge cult classic and be a leading offering in AWA’s recent deal for film and TV rights of their IPs. I look forward to following the journey Nina Ryan takes on her road to redemption and meeting the sordid characters and, no doubt, the shady government officials she meets on the way. #NinaNation 

Absolution #1 is out now! 

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