Fly, Zenescope’s latest title, is the sleeper hit of the summer. The story unfolds through a series of flashbacks, leading the reader backwards in time, from a brutal present-day confrontation to the precise moment that is clearly at the heart of the character’s woes.
With fantastic art by Eric J, this is one of the few Zenescope books where the interior work isn’t in direct contrast to the stunning covers that adorn the series. What truly sets this comic apart from all the others out this week is its creative origin. In a rather frank letter to fans, writer and creator Raven Gregory explained the inspiration that spawned this comic series.
The title “Fly” refers to a drug that grants its users the ability to soar through the air, amongst other bestowed abilities. This central storyline is based upon Gregory’s own experiences with crystal meth. In the epilogue letter, he describes how he and his wife found themselves in a downward spiral of addiction and substance abuse, and how years later, he is trying to find a way to talk about this using the fictional characters and events of his comic series.
The question in my mind is this: would I have thought so highly of this comic if I didn’t know that it came from a place of personal pain and loss? I certainly enjoyed the story, and the well executed cliffhanger ending both nicely closed out this first issue and left me asking, “and then…”, as I wondered how these flashback events would lead us to the present-day confrontation. The art was fun, with suitable stylistic changes to help readers understand that the plot is leading back to more “innocent” days. Still, I’m not sure I, or others, would be quite so excited and wowed by this book without its real-life component.
This is no dig against the creators or the comic itself, just a frank acknowledgment that the last page from the author transformed this title from a fun edgy story into an extremely emotionally charged tale that is hands down the best work out from Zenescope. The publishing company, normally known for its dark and sexy adaptations of the Grimm Fairy Tales or Alice in Wonderland, has already developed quite a following considering their small print runs and limited title lines. Still, Fly seems like a bit of a risk, given the central role of drugs in the storyline.
Fly #1 is definitely a title for mature readers, but just as definitely a must-read. As I already said, Fly is going to the sleeper hit comic of the summer!