Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Damian Couceiro
Colors by: Michael Garland
Cluster #1 starts the story of Samara Simmons, a prisoner at Tranent Penitentiary on the distant planet of Midlothian (the prisoners are transported in cryosleep a la Avatar). In exchange for shortened sentence of fifteen years the inmates sign up to join the military. They are tasked with the helping to terraform the planet for mass human occupation. Samara comes from a famous family and it’s almost immediately thrown in her face. Her famous bloodline is sure to be a big part of the narrative going forward.
The story has the pace that’s expected for the start of a new book. The characters and world are set up nicely while not giving away the motivations of anybody. The interactions between the inmates aren’t uncommon for any prison story besides the presence of alien races. Inmates gather to eat, then they start talking, then shit hits the fan. Maybe that doesn’t happen much after this issue but its prison, people are going to be pissed off about one thing or another. It’s not until later in the issue that Cluster begins to differentiate itself from a stereotypical prison drama.
Cluster has a gritty art style that works great with the feel of the story. The armor design strongly reminds me of the COG’s in Gears of War (I love video games). While the helmets look like a prototype of a Halo ODST (I swear I don’t only play Xbox). The colors of the planet and sky definitely let me know that they were not on Earth. The faces of the characters have the proper lines and shade to show that they have been doing hard time and endured a hard life.
Cluster #1 did a good job of setting up a plot that has plenty of unanswered questions. Samara’s back story will more than likely be filled in slowly but surely as well the origins of the other characters. Whether this books will be action packed or story driven is still up in the air. I will be checking out the next few issues to see where Cluster goes.