CLUSTER #1 Is a Dose of Sci-Fi Action – Comic Review

Occasionally I take chances with comics published by BOOM! Studios. Cluster is one of those comics. When I see art by James Stokoe I can’t help but check it out–even when it’s just the cover. After reading, I can see how BOOM! Studios is serious about pushing comics forward, and turns out the comic is pretty damn good too.

Cluster follows the journey of protagonist Samara Simmons after her incarceration due to a fatal incident. The details are not explored yet, which could potentially lead to some clever developments down the line. Simmons decides to complete her sentence under Military Inmate Deployment (M.I.D.) placing the time served at 15 years. And with all M.I.D. prisoners, they are fitted with a failsafe. Seems like a pretty cool recipe for disaster.


Writer Ed Brisson has created an interesting sci-fi setting with a hybrid story including prison and military staples. The world building and exposition are done well in the guise of an orientation for arriving prisoners and through mission details. A fairly large cast of characters are introduced and characterised quickly and smoothly throughout the book, and lines are quickly drawn in the sand, which will make for good tension and character development as the story progresses. Having this motley crew of misfits forced to work together will prove challenging and interesting for both Samara and readers. With a purposefully underdeveloped background for the protagonist, breadcrumbs given about Samara’s past successfully pique interest to return for more details. This gives readers two tales to follow, only if Brisson decides to tell the full story behind Samara Simmons or any other character.

The character designs and art by Damian Couceiro are solid and Michael Garland’s colors set the atmosphere of each setting. Samara stands out in general within comics for being a female lead, scarred and dark-skinned. The scars on Samara’s face are a nice touch. Samara’s stoic and tough and Couceiro helps bring that to life. Another strong point would be his panel layouts. Couciero has a few pages that have some nice overlapping panels, and each page is laid out differently.

I wasn’t sure how much I would like Cluster, but I’m glad I gave it a shot. This turned out to be a good read. Taking chances with BOOM! Studios has usually turned out well for me. It’s how I got to enjoy Thomas Alsop, Black Market and Teen Dog. Now I can add Cluster to the list. BOOM! is seriously making the effort to push comics forward with both representation and good stories, and Cluster is definitely part of it.

Cluster #1
Written and Lettered by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Damian Couceiro
Colors by Michael Garland
Cover by James Stokoe

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The Author

Rafael Berrios

Rafael Berrios

A New York native trying to make an impact. When not dealing with "norm" life, he spends his time reading comics, writing, gaming, watching movies and TV shows, and enjoys contributing to podcasts whenever the chance presents itself.