Review: Malignant Man #1 (of 4)


I was skeptical, I freely admit, when I heard about this comic. A guy whose cancer gives him super powers? C’mon.

Whatever happened to radioactive spider bites and half-forgotten gods bestowing powers on mere mortals? When I saw the cover, my thoughts changed to something more along the lines of “oh, another character with organic blades?” – haven’t seen that one before. Well, having read the comic, I’m pleased to say I was wrong (at least so far) to prejudge this book. The basic story you can figure out on your own just from the title and what you’ve read of this review so far. A man named Alan with terminal cancer, told his last chance has failed, prepares himself for death. A death, he’s told, is very close at hand.

Going about his business after leaving the hospital, Alan laments not that his life is ending, but that he can’t remember what has come before; a side effect of his brain cancer has robbed him of much of his memory. Alan witnesses an armed mugging and, perhaps because he has nothing left to lose or simply because it is the right thing to do, he tackles the mugger and distracts him from his intended targets: a woman and her little girl.

Heroic this may be, but ultimately Alan’s victory is pyrrhic and he takes three bullet wounds that would prove fatal to a healthy man, forget one who is already dying. Rushed to a hospital, Alan is prepped for surgery only for horrified and shocked doctors to discover something other than a bullet, and rather unexpected, in his skull. Before they can do anything about it, however, the area is attacked by a group of mysterious men with organic blades sprouting from their arms (as seen on the cover) and a woman who absconds with Alan, setting us up for the second part of this series.

As with most of his work I have read, Michael Alan Nelson’s script is paced perfectly and his dialogue generally fits well while advancing the story in a way that does not feel overly expositive or forced. I’ve enjoyed most of the comics he has scripted and so far, this one is no exception. Piotr Kowalski’s art is what you’d expect of most Boom! books, as they seem to be developing something of a house style for their non-franchise properties. Whether this is intentional or simply reflects the artistic preferences of its editorial team, I couldn’t say. Regardless of the source, Kowalski’s art is solid and will seem familiar to regular readers of Boom! comics.

Overall, this was a good comic. I was not blown away, but I was pleased that it didn’t disappoint either and I have enjoyed the book enough that I will gladly pick up the second issue. If my suspicions are correct, things are about to get a little crazy and I’d rather not miss out on the fun.