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Team M.O.B.I.L.E. #1 by Jonathan Kendrick

01/05/2012. Contributed by Andy Whitaker

Buy Team M.O.B.I.L.E. #1 in the USA - or Buy Team M.O.B.I.L.E. #1 in the UK

author pic

pub: ROK Comics. Available as a free download app on the iPad from the iTunes store).

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This is advertised as an audio comic – something you can read and listen to on the iPad. I have to admit it is the first comic I have come across that makes the most use of the features available on the iPad. The free edition reviewed here is obviously a taster to get people to pay for subsequent issues.

It’s worth spending sometime commenting on the visual presentation as it is a very slick product. The credits have Andrew Chiu, Kris Carter and Jim Campbell responsible for art, colour and letters respectively. Comics have to have to get the visual impact right otherwise readers will give up before they even start to consider the story. With this edition of ‘Team M.O.B.I.L.E.’ it works very well indeed. The artwork is very well drawn with very striking colours. Text is legible and easy to read.

When you first open the comic and swipe past the cover and credits pages to get to the first page of the story you are presented with a page overlaid with instructions. There is a big helpful yellow box at the bottom of the page you can tap to get rid of the instructions. You can tap on icons to bring up additional information on characters or other elements. At the top right of each page is an icon depicting someone speaking. Taping this invokes the sound track.

ROK Comics have certainly invested some time and effort here, as the audio soundtrack is excellent. There is a good mix of voices which are all clearly audible. On my first reading, after the second I found myself just looking at the pictures and listening to the audio without reading the speech bubbles. It feels and looks like a quality product making good use of the iPads capabilities.

The basic idea behind ‘Team M.O.B.I.L.E.’ is that a government agency is recruiting teenagers to undertake missions. Teen-agers are more suited for being augmented with additional skill sets than older people (adults?). Issue # 1 introduces the concepts and main characters. As aging degrades a person’s suitability for ‘Team M.O.B.I.L.E.’ operations, the central story is about the recruitment of two new recruits. There’s an unknown foe who tries to stop the recruitment resulting in a fire fight with impressive weapons.

Not forgetting that this is a comic and has a story, it was disappointing to find that the story was perhaps the weak link in this edition. The central idea of ‘mindmerge’ where you can merge required skill sets into the minds of teenagers for a period of time to make them capable of achieving a mission is a good one. Unfortunately, you don’t find out what ‘mindmerge’ is until the notes at the end of the comic even though it is referenced throughout the story and causes one of the characters to have a meltdown on page 3. I read (or listened!) to the comic with the feeling that I had missed something and should know what mindmerge was. It could have done with an icon early in the story to let me know what a mindmerge was.

My only other gripe is about the manga influence that crops up on pages 2 and 3. The hero’s meet and do battle with an unknown foe in an office and for some reason there is no background detail in the pictures. For three panels, we have the heroes battling the unknown foe against a beige colour wash. A little more detail please!

It is refreshing to see something new, especially a UK comic. With its use of an audio soundtrack and icons to provide additional information it deserves to be a big success. I have no trouble recommending this to anyone who has an iPad. Personally, I want to find out what happens to the latest two new recruits to Team M.O.B.I.L.E so will be keeping a look out for issue # 2.

Andy Whitaker

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This book has 66 votes in the sci-fi charts

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