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Comic Review: Shifter
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Anomaly Publishing: Shifter graphic novelShifter
Created by Skip Brittenham and Brian Haberlin
Written by Brian Haberlin and Brian Holguin
Illustrations by Brian Haberlin, Geirrod VanDyke, Kunrong Yap and Chan Hyuk Lee
Letters by Francis Takenaga
Technology by David Pentz
Anomaly Publishing
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Cover Price: $19.99

Shifter is the newest offering from the creative team that brought us Anomaly last year. This huge graphic novel spans over two hundred pages and is more than just entertainment, it’s thought provoking. I found myself pondering how certain people and groups abuse the power they have over others, not to mention what I would do were I in the protagonist’s place.

We start off with Noah (which just so happens to be my nephew’s name), he’s just your average government employee that has a job flying drones to keep an eye on the environment. While getting ready to knock off for the day and head out to his bachelor party, he sees something that’s just a little off. After reporting it to his boss, he heads out for the night, not giving it a second thought. Everything seems normal when he gets up the next day for a nature hike, he even stops to help a couple of guys who are lost on the trail. Following an accident that leaves him half drowned and stuck in an underground cavern, he eventually makes his way to another cave that seems to be the legendary White Lodge that the Native Americans once held sacred. Above him hangs a sphere that abruptly pulls him inside and begins to interact with him in order to repair the damage done to his body.

Calling him the Operator, the entity that inhabits the sphere provides a tutorial on the abilities that it provides. It seems that through this Interface, Noah is able to inhabit the mind and control the movements of several specimens that this Outpost has taken over the millennia. After upgrading his synaptic link, the Interface allows him to inhabit these creatures and can even go so far as teleporting the creature to various points around the globe. By using these animals (and a human female), Noah is able to reconstruct what happened to him and determine that he was made to be the scapegoat in a conspiracy to create anarchy and bring chaos to millions of lives.  Now it’s up to Noah and his plethora of historical creatures to unravel the mystery and set things back on course. There’s just this little problem of having to work around the protocols set forth by the Interface. How he sets about this task is best left to the reader to discover, I would hate to spoil things for you.

Skip Brittenham and Brian Haberlin did an amazing job creating this concept. There is no end to the adventures that can be had with the abilities and powers that are bestowed upon the Operator. The coolest part is that even after Noah removes himself from the body of a creature, he retains some of it’s innate capabilities and skills. I can definitely see this as an ongoing series if they wanted to make it one.

Already cooler than most comics, this book has something extra special going for it. It has Ultimate Augmented Reality access, also known as UAR. Essentially, you download an app and certain pages trigger an onscreen action when you have the device’s camera aimed at the comic.  Here’s a screenshot of a gigantopithecus!

Gigantopithecus UAR Screenshot

The truly interactive part is that the creatures will react when you touch them on the screen. There’s even an information screen available while you have the UAR action open.  I’m also including a video that I took to give you an idea of how it works. All in all, it’s a fun addition to an already spectacular story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it wasn’t until I finished it that I realized exactly how huge it actually was. I was so wrapped up in it that I just kept reading until I was done. The artwork is extraordinary but it’s the story that really captured my attention. I look forward to more from these folks at Anomaly Publishing. If you haven’t seen their first book, Anomaly, here is the official Geeks of Doom review from a few months ago.

Pick up Shifter, you won’t be sorry. Go on now, go buy it!

And here’s that video I mentioned:

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