Mark Allen reviews Throwaways #1…
THROWAWAY (n.) 1. A disposable asset, used for a single mission; 2. A disavowed assassin, meant to die alongside their target. Abby Palmer and Dean Logan are two broken people—Abby a vet with severe PTSD and Dean a burnout trying to escape the shadow of his infamous father—when they are thrust into a modern-day MK-ULTRA conspiracy… and discover they are both ULTRA’s human experiments.
The first issue of Throwaways begins with a familiar scene: two characters in a dire situation, facing near-certain doom, only for one of them to reveal hidden talents that end up saving them. Said situation features Abby, a gun-toting ex-soldier, and Dean, a beat-up crusty punk, taking cover behind a bullet-ridden car before the latter stands up and rains broken glass down on their attackers with telekinetic powers. It may be a cliche, but it gets the job done, and within three pages writer Caitlin Kittredge and artist Steven Sanders have told us a lot about the story they plan on telling.
And that story involves a lot of violence. The comic skips back in time four hours at this point and re-introduces us to the leads, though it isn’t long before bullets start flying again. Kittredge skips the frying pan and tosses Abby & Dean straight into the fire, with both facing separate attempts on their lives from paramilitary troops before meeting and discovering that their pasts may share a few of the same mysteries.
The comic moves along at a good pace, with locations rarely lasting more than two pages and only the most necessary exposition being peppered in among action and movement. There are all too many comics that sit characters at a table for lengthy dialogue scenes these days, and it’s refreshing to see a new indie that understands that comics – being a visual medium – need more than that to work. The characters speak directly, but Kittredge still manages to imbue them with unique personalities and flaws, something helped immeasurably by Sanders’ detailed designs and striking depictions of body language.
The art is strong, if a little static throughout; Sanders’ well-defined characters give way to fuzzy, colourful backgrounds and often look a little too posed for a comic featuring this much action. On the other hand, his layouts often comprise angular panels with jagged edges, heightening the sense of danger the characters face in many scenes. That Kittredge and her partner place their leads mostly in enclosed, darkened spaces speaks to the degree of thought that has gone into their launch issue. The paranoia and claustrophobia they evoke is reminiscent of classic conspiracy thrillers, but Dean’s supernatural powers and Abby’s spec-ops training suggests they’re not as hopeless as the journalist and detective characters those stories usual feature.
Overall, the team’s impressive execution of their first issue elevates an overdone premise to make Throwaways a promising new series, with complex characters, engaging art and – most crucially – an itch to know what happens next.